Castle Cameras - Our History
Castle Cameras was started in 1974 by Brian and Jenny Callow. Racheal Tattum became a partner in May 1999. Jenny dropped out in 2002.
The business was previously 'Callow Chemist', a pharmacy established in 1938 by Mr Ken Callow, Brian's father. A photographic department was added in 1958 but then reduced to one small counter when a sub-post office was introduced ten years later. The post office continued alongside the camera shop until March 2004.
In 1978, following a boom in the sale of cameras and a rapid increase in turnover, a Mail Order department was established and a photographic business purchased in Sturminster Newton, Dorset.
In 1984 a competitor's business in the main Winton shopping area, about a mile from the original shop, was purchased. This is now the main showroom. For many years, the original site specialised in film, materials and processing as well as being used for mail order, repairs and administration. Following the closure of the Post Office, a digital processing machine was installed. This was moved to the main showroom in May 2009, leaving the original site empty while it is developed.
A branch was opened in the centre of Salisbury on August 1, 1987 and a temporary site, awaiting re-development, was opened at the Triangle, in the centre of Bournemouth, from July 1989 until December 1990. The Sturminster Newton shop was sold to the manager when the lease expired in the Autumn of 1990.
After a period of consolidation, a freehold shop and flat was purchased in Pokesdown in July 1993 and opened four days later. Brian moved in to run it and oversee the improvements to the building. It traded successfully until 2005 when it was sold for development.
A fifth site was opened from November 1998 to April 2009 in Ashley Road, Poole.
What is the present situation?
The branch closures have enabled us to concentrate our efforts successfully at our two main sites.
The addresses are:
329 Wimborne Road, Winton. BH9 2AD 01202 510888 / 526606
11 Endless Street, Salisbury. SP1 1DL 01722 339909
The on-line business is run from 329 Wimborne Road. The office functions are spread around the building, although Racheal is just as likely to be found at Salisbury. Most of the team have been with us for over 10 years during which time we have reduced our numbers slightly.
Our sales have more than doubled in the last four years and are now at record levels without any increase in staff. We are all working very hard and are looking for another star person to help us to keep up with the dramatic increase in demand following Jessops' closure in January.