Kodak: 123 years of history in Harrow

Harrow Times: The first buildings on the site in 1891 The first buildings on the site in 1891

After more than a century in the borough Kodak has announced it is set to stay and the Harrow Times has taken the opportunity to look back at its history in the area.

Last week Kodak announced it will continue to operate in the borough after following a year of uncertainty for the business.

The firm first acquired the seven-acre plot of farmland in 1890 as its first site in the UK.

The factory in Harrow first opened in 1891 and was also Eastman Kodak’s first manufacturing base outside America.

The factory in Harrow was the largest photographic manufacturing plant in the British Commonwealth and at the height of its output in the 1950s it employed more than 6,000 people.

The site provided and still provides printing paper for professional use of mural images and also personal use by amateur photographers.

Kodak has been present in Harrow for more than 120 years, the factory’s history charting much of the history of popular photography itself.

Due to the ever-growing popularity of digital photography, in 2005 track four at the factory was shut and ended the site’s production of film, leading to the loss of 250 jobs.

The company also owned and operated sports fields near its site where football teams still play today.

Due to increasing financial pressures in recent years, Kodak has sold off large parts of the Harrow site for development.

But the latest announcement has been met with enthusiasm.

Harrow Borough Council's cabinet member for business Cllr Kamaljit Chana said: “Harrow is proud of its connection with this historic company, so it is excellent news that they want to stay in the borough.

“This shows that Harrow is still very much a place to do business and companies want to come and stay here.

“We hope that Kodak will continue to invest in Harrow’s economy, and create more job opportunities for our residents.”

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