Ffordes Photographic Ltd opened for business in May 1960 in Southernhay, Basildon, Essex by Reg Byford.
Reg was a keen amateur photographer and member of Rayleigh Camera Club and after an accident at the family’s house building firm he had to consider a new career and the natural choice was to open up a camera shop and pursue his passion of photography.
In these early years of business Ffordes become one of the largest retailers and main dealers for cine and camera equipment by Bolex, Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, Leica, Linhof, Topcon, Mamiya, Zenza Bronica and many others.
The business grew over the years and in the early 1980’s a second shop was opened at Elmer Approach, Southend-on Sea, Essex a few years later the Basildon shop had to close as a new supermarket was built on its site and the business was then run solely from the Southend branch.
At the time of the Southend branch opening Reg’s second son, Stephen starting working for Ffordes, between his time attending college during the week and at the weekends, initially Steve started in the camera repair department repairing and servicing camera equipment and then on Saturday’s helped on in the shop selling equipment to customers.
Unfortunately in 1995 the founder of Ffordes, Reg passed away after a brief illness and Stephen was left to take over from his father the running of Ffordes, Stephen decided not to change much from what his father had achieved and built up over the years, customers liked the high level of service and staff knowledge they received and he saw no reason to alter this.
In the early 1990’s the firm was on the move again, just three miles away to a larger and more prominent shop at Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff-on Sea, Essex which was expanded two years later to accommodate the neighbouring shop, more space was required for the increase in the companies mail-order business.
This was not the last relocation for Ffordes as Steve and his wife had for a number of years spent holidays in the Highlands of Scotland and fallen in love with its widen open spaces, landscapes and the way of life of the Highland people, the seed had been sown and in 2001 Ffordes moved to Beauly twelve miles west of Inverness.
Ffordes is now located in a restored former Free Church which is also where its sister company is located Beauly Gallery and Gifts Ltd, a lovely coffee shop, gift shop and gallery.
Lots of things have changed in the fifty years that Ffordes have been trading, we have seen great changes in the equipment being sold, we have seen the rise and fall of cine equipment, the introduction of camcorders and the most recent changes with the advent of digital photography, all of which we have embraced and supported.
Some things have not changed though and Ffordes still prides itself in offering high levels of service and advice and knowledge to amateur and professional photographers, the owner and staff are all enthusiast photographers who are encouraged to share there photographic knowledge and experience with customers.
I hope that you enjoy the experience of dealing with Ffordes and that you return to us again in the future.