Bill Clark is the 6th generation of a long line of Clarks whose ancester, Hezekiah, established an early dyeing business in Retford in 1798. Dry cleaning and laundering developed necessitating a move to what became Hallcroft Works in Retford.Bill has searched his attic and found reels of film relating to the Clark dyeing and dry cleaning business – he is depositing these with Full Circle at MACE. We will be making copies of these reels of 16mm film onto DVD and making them available for viewing.Just one of over 100 laundry and dry cleaning shops that were part of the Clark industry. The Clarks were responsible for developing the early stages of dyeing non natural fabrics like Rayon.
Bill still has his father’s Bell and Howell 16mm film projector in full working order!The business all started when Hezekiah Clark came from Derby in the 1780s to work at the Revolution Mill as a dyer. After that failed he set up on his own as a dyer in Retford in 1798.Bill inherited this film collection from his Father. His Father made films of the dry cleaning and dyeing business, holidays, family weddings from the 1930s to the 1970s, local scenes e.g. of St Saviour’s at Retford, the Easter Market at Retford and other footage that is not labelled. There are many reels of film that need assessing and cataloguing and Bill and Jennifer will be booking sessions to view some of their films at the MACE viewing room, when we move to new premises at the University of Lincoln.Retford Civic Society are in the process of commissioning a wall mural commemorating some historical aspects of Retford and reference to the Clark Laundry will be featured. Another reference to the Clark industry is in the street name: “Dyers Court” in Retford. The photo below shows the well being dug which supplied water for the Dye works at Grove Street, Retford.
These photos are taken from Bill’s manuscript: ‘Retford and District Historical and Archaeological Society Review 40th Anniversary Issue (1967 – 2007)’. Bill has a great story to tell and will be working on another manuscript soon.
Bill has kept his father’s 16mm Bolex cine camera which is still in working condition and ran on clockwork.
Film is an important part of our heritage and we would love to hear from you if you have any reels of film hidden away in cupboards, drawers, sheds or attics and are not sure what to do with them. Depositing them with a film archive is probably the best thing for the films as they will be stored in proper archival conditions and will be kept safely for future generations to enjoy.