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THM/374 - Douglas H. Jeffery Archive
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Douglas H. Jeffery Archive

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This material is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374
Dates of Creation 1930-2007
Name of Creator Douglas H Jeffery
Language of Material English Italian German
Physical Description 9 boxes

Scope and Content

This collection comprises of photographic negatives and prints, some glass negatives and personal records of the photographer Douglas H Jeffery. It comprises of a representative collection of photographic negatives that document the history of London theatre performance between c. 1960-2003 and the related correspondence with media organisations and publishers, who purchased images for publication.

His early work is kept on negative glass prints, before he moved onto black and white 35 mm film.

Administrative / Biographical History

Douglas H Jeffery (1917-2009) was born in Gillingham, Kent, but his parents, Ada May Elizabeth and Harold Walter Jeffery were from Somerset. The H in his name comes from Hannaford, his morther's maiden name.

Having worked for Kodak, Jeffery became interested in photography and started taking photographs in the early 1940s, using a plate camera. He had photographed productions at the Richmond Park open-air theatre for a local paper in Kingston upon Thames, where he attended school. He also photographed weddings and horse races.

He was known as a good friend to his fellow photographers. Photographer Graham Brandon, who often worked at the same press calls as Jeffery, noted, that Jeffery, also known as "Dougie" used to co-ordinate the press calls on behalf of all the photographers. Venues would liaise with Jeffery to ensure that press calls did not overlap and he would distribute schedules to all other photographers. Brandon further acknowledged that unlike other photographers, Jeffery would also go to fringe venues. Jeffery also took pictures of the press calls itself (e.g. directors and other photographers) as well as taking informal portraits of theatre practitioners and playwrights.

Jeffery made all of his own tools for fixing his camera, often made his own chemicals and he develped the films himself. Bu the late 1980s, picture editors grew unhappy with his technical style and later on were annoyed by his refusal to adopt digital photography. In 1994, Jeffery was hit by a passing car and the recovery period caused less photoorders from publishers.

Douglas H Jeffery never married. He died in London in 2009.


The original working order has been maintained where appropriate. The archive has been divided into 7 series:

  • THM/374/1 - Negatives of theatre productions
  • THM/374/2 - Professional Correspondence
  • THM/374/3 - Photography: technique, equipment
  • THM/374/4 - Personal correspondence and documents
  • THM/374/5 - Financial documents
  • THM/374/6 - Legal documents
  • THM/374/7 - Glass plates negatives
  • THM/374/8 - Photographic negatives of individuals

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Gellatin dry plates sized 4.5x6 cm and 9x12cm.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with collection management policies.

Acquisition Information

The collection was purchased at auction in Autumn 2008.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Theatre and Performance Department. Material relating to Douglas H Jeffery, as well as theatre photography in general may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.


Theater--Great Britain--History--20th century
Stage photography
Photography -- 1960-1970

Personal Names

Jeffery, Douglas. ( 1917-2009)

Geographical Names

Gillingham, Kent, United Kingdom

Cataloguing Info

Title Douglas H. Jeffery Archive
Creation Created by intern using the cheshire for archives ead creation tool 2011-05-12

Negatives of theatre productions

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/1
Dates of Creation c.1960-2000

Scope and Content

This series contains photographs for more than 10,000 individual productions, which Douglas H. Jeffery photographed during his career.

The negatives documenting the theatre productions in London between 1960s-2005 is currently being catalogued and will be available in due course.

Professional correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2
Dates of Creation 1934-2000
Physical Description 8 files

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Douglas Jeffery and publishers (newspapers of book editors, sometimes broadcasted media) relating to his services as a photographer.The letters addressed to Jeffery are photocall invitations, payments and photo specifications. Some of the correspondence is with foreign publishers. Copies of Jeffery's letters in response and of notes attached to the photos delivered can be found throughout the files. Many letters are enquiries from people who wish to obtain copies of his photographs. There are also some records related to payments.


The original order of his files was largely preserved and some of his file titles were kept.

Related Material

More documents on his finances can be found in Series THM/374/5 Financial documents.

Professional correspondence (old letters and orders)

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/1
Dates of Creation 1934-1998
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains handwritten notes and correspondence. The notes refer to photo specifications, payments, follow-ups and appointments. The correspondence is from publishers regarding the usage of Douglas Jeffery's photographs and payments incurred; some letters may have copies of of photographs referred to, and a couple of letters are in Italian. A few remittance advices and invoices may be found in between letters as well as some correspondence with the National Union of Journalists.

Professional correspondence and personal letters

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/2
Dates of Creation 1937-1962
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Early correspondence relating to photo production and equipment (c.1945-1953) and some personal correspondence (1942, 1945, 1955, 1962). It includes photo orders (London News Agency Photos, 1937-1938; The Field, 1951), receipts and invoices for photo supplies. Some documents are instructions for laboratory equipment (method of filling thermoregulator) and have drawings of photo equipment.

Related Material

More material on his photo equipment can be found in Series THM/374/3 Photography equipment.

Professional correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/3
Dates of Creation 1958-1974
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes work related correspondence with publishers (some letters are in German), handwritten notes on scraps of paper, payment cheques; negative prints, invoices and remittance advices (1973, 1942), and newspaper clippings of his published photographs. Some photos may be found attached to letters.

Appraisal Information

Some photographs attached to a letter were removed. Negatives of all his photographs can be found in Series THM/374/1 Negatives.

Material found in folder titled: "Douglas Jeffery: not wanted"

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/4
Dates of Creation 1965-1988
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes correspondence regarding Jeffery's photographs which were not used for publication in newspapers or books. Some letters/invitations may have photographs and newspaper clippings attached. Some documents relating to a collaboration with a German publication (letter and tax exemption form) are in German. It also includes letters from a church, Parish of St. Bride, Fleet Street; letters in appreciation of his photographs and concerning payments, correspondence with Royal Shakespeare Company, some of the Royal Court Theatre press releases and 1988 Young Writer's Festival invitations.

Appraisal Information

Two copies of a blank notification from The Companies Act 1948 to 1967 were removed from the folder. Two colour negatives were moved to Series THM/374/1 Negatives.

Professional correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/5
Dates of Creation 1967-1972
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains postal money orders (1967-1968), correspondence from Susan Deusnap, handwritten notes and lists with photo sizes and photographs order forms (c.1968, 1970-1971); correspondence relating to photo orders.

Appraisal Information

A set of annotated photographs and negative prints from Summer with Jane Asher and Malcolm Palton were removed from the file. The negatives of these photographs can be found in Series THM/374/1 Negatives.

Professional correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/6
Dates of Creation 1967-1998
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Includes correspondence (1984-1987) regarding photo purchase requests to use in television, books and other publications, and some may have enclosed copies of photos referred to. Many letters are enquiries from people who wish to purchase copies of Jeffery's published photographs. It also contains a call for photo awards and theatre photocall invitations, invoices, delivery notes from newspapers (1994-1995), and handwritten notes on scraps of paper. Theatre programme leaflets, a Commonwealth Arts Festival 1965 programme and Sunday Express compliment cards can be found attached to letters.

Professional correspondence

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/7
Dates of Creation 1984-1992
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains correspondence with publishers relating to photo orders and payments, and copies of Jeffery's letters and notes attached to delivered photographs. Some letters may contain copies of photographs referred to. Many letters are enquiries from people who request copies of specific photographs.

Professional correspondence and photocall invitations

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/2/8
Dates of Creation 1985-2000
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Enclosed some correspondence with publishers, invitations to rehearsal photo sessions, handwritten notes and a newspaper clipping.

Photography: technique, equipment

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3
Dates of Creation 1930-2007
Physical Description 6 files

Scope and Content

Material relating to photography gathered by Douglas H Jeffery during his professional life. They include various instruction manuals for photography technical equipment and documentation of his published photographs. There is some correspondence relating to selling/buying technical equipment and supplies as well as digrams and notes on the photographic process.


The material in this series was put together mainly from two separate files and from his entire paper archive and there there was no original arrangement as it is now.

Instruction manuals for photography equipment

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/1
Dates of Creation c.1935-2007
Physical Description 1 box

Scope and Content

Contains various instruction manuals for photographic equipment (camera, lenses, lightning, paper), price lists, and two photos of old cameras with handwritten annotations.


The content of this box was put together from two different files.

Photography equipment

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/2
Dates of Creation c.1930-1999
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains handwritten payment receipts for photography technical equipment and supplies, invoices and guarantee certificates, notes on technical specifications, magazine articles on photo equipment (The British Journal of Photography), diagrams of 'portaflash', electric lamp, photography related articles and two issues of the Technical Bulletin (no.10, no.39). It also includes correspondence related to selling/buying equipment.


Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/3
Dates of Creation 1936-1938

Scope and Content

Notebook with 200 numbered pages (only first 100 used) that starts with newspaper clippings from 1936, depicting photographs of footballers, wedings, houses, parades and festivities. It also encloses loose newspaper clippings. The table of contents at the end states: Great Britain: 1-35; Europe: 35-80; Asia: 80-110; Africa: 140-170; America: 170-200.

Poster: Shakespeare 1564-1964

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/4
Dates of Creation 1964
Physical Description 1 poster

Scope and Content

Photo-poster prepared for the British Information Services by the Central Office of Information, London 1964. It depicts several images of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, images of paintings, stills and photographs from films and plays based on Shakespeare's plays and a short biography. Some of the photographs are Jeffery's.

Art and industry. A century of design in the products we use

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/5
Dates of Creation November 1981
Physical Description 1 booklet

Scope and Content

Exhibition catalogue published by The Conran Foundation for the first exhibition staged in the Boilerhouse of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It includes a section on photocamera design.

Newspaper articles clippings

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/3/6
Dates of Creation c.1984-1999
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains annotated newspaper pages and articles clippings, theatre and image study themed (with Jeffery's photographs or not), mainly from The Evening Standard.

Appraisal Information

Duplicates were removed.

Personal correspondence and documents

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/4
Dates of Creation c.1939-2007
Physical Description 5 files

Scope and Content

Jeffery's non-profession related correspondence and personal documents, such as his mother's death certificate, and his National service documents. There are also some photographs that are not theatre related, perhaps of his family and friends. Many Christmas greetings cards collected between 1970-1998 can be found in this series, as well as a small amount of newspaper clippings with articles on subjects of interest to Jeffery, from science to health.


The arrangement of these files was kept to some extent; they are by subject.

Personal documents

Reference Number(s) GB 71 THM/374/4/1
Dates of Creation 1939-1955
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

Contains Douglas Jeffery's National service related documents: pay forms, Soldier's Service and Pay Book, Army Book no.64 1942; letter with insurance card 1944; health insurance card and related documentation. It also contains his mother's death certificate of 1948, two photographs of his mother and father and letters to Mum and Dick from Sally.