Coronation Street Wiki

1971: Mrs Barnes collects her developed prints from Emily Nugent

The Camera Shop (trading as "E. Bishop (Photographic)") was an outlet run by Ernest Bishop from at least 1967 until 1976.

The Rosamund Street shop, which was located close to the canal, sold cameras, film and other provisions and housed a darkroom where Ernie and his staff developed photos. Ernest was also a photographer-for-hire and his studio where he carried out photo shoots was located in the rear of the shop. Prior to being a camera shop, it was a junk shop run by an old lady known to the residents of the area as "Mucky Alice".

Business history

In June 1969, with business booming, Ernest hired Emily Nugent as his assistant and Ena Sharples as caretaker, providing the latter with accommodation in the upstairs flat. Ena served Ernie well until May 1971 when she left to take up an equivalent post at the Community Centre. In January 1970, Ernest's landlord Willie Piggott granted him permission to have the studio converted into two rooms. Piggott attempted to blackmail Emily into finding out Fairclough and Langton's tender for a student hostel contract by threatening not to renew the shop's lease. Emily grudgingly spied for Piggott, betraying Len Fairclough and Ray Langton, before confessing her actions to the men. Len and Ray were sympathetic and sold their low-cost materials to Roscoe & Pitts, allowing the latter to undercut Piggott.

1975 was a bad year for the shop as Ernest was forced to close the studio after a 30% rates increase. A year later, Ernie's accountant Arnold Pettifer delivered the terms of the new lease with the news that the landlord was trebling his rent. Ernie considered finding new premises but, disheartened after being turned down for a bank loan, he took Pettifer's advice and went into liquidation. He and Emily cleared out the shop on 21st July 1976.

The Camera Shop was robbed twice. In July 1969, Cliff Stone broke in during the night and stole the petty cash. He was carrying the £74 he'd previously stolen from a post office, which when confronted by Ena he said were his savings that he’d deposited on the premises some time before when it was a junk shop. He was arrested by Cyril Turpin the following day. In July 1970, while putting up shelves on behalf of Fairclough and Langton Frank Bradley and Judd Johnson stole a £30 camera from the shop. Ray retrieved the camera when the men let slip where it was.

Photo engagements

1969: Ernie directs the photos at Albert Tatlock and Alice Pickins's ill-fated wedding

Ernest was also a photographer-for-hire, having caught the bug from his father George Bishop who'd started out in the trade with just £50 and an old German camera.

Until 1975, the shop housed a studio where he conducted photo shoots. He was often called into action at weddings but his eye for the unconventional was also recognised; in July 1969, he won a prize for his photograph of Ena Sharples which he entered in a competition in the "Exotic and Bizarre Studies" category.

In October 1971, Ernest undertook an engagement for Willie Piggott, taking photos for travel brochures on the continent. While in Spain, Ernie was caught adjusting model Karen Spencer's bra strap by the police and charged with offending against the public morality. He was eventually released, charges dropped, and completed the assignment in Malta and Holland before making his return to Weatherfield. From then on, the firm only worked with fully-clothed models, with one exception: in April 1973, Emily photographed Terry Slade's strippers, a job Ernie had refused on moral grounds.

That same month, Ernest took on Rita Littlewood as a rep, interesting new parents in having child portraits taken. Rita showed promise by getting six orders with eight possibles on her first day but these were then cancelled by the wives of the husbands she'd spoken to. Rita stayed on at the shop until June that year when she left to run The Kabin. The following November, Ernie hired Andy Simpson as an amateur photographer part-time on £10 a week.