a team of six graduates, two British-made 4 x4s with endless support from the
Austin Motor Company, dozens of sponsors, the enthusiastic backing from a university
in a great city and you have an expedition to drive around the world.
months, twenty countries and about 48,280 kms/ 30,000 land miles later and it
became a 'first'. The Around the World journey had never been done in that way
before and certainly never with a Wrayflex - the first and only British made single
lens reflex [SLR] camera.
happened almost sixty years ago in 1960/61 and at twenty-five years old I was
the 'cameraman / photographer'. It was a grand title for someone who had studied
Each of us had raised £200.00 or in today's terms about £4000.00,
which together with help from sponsors and donors added up to an overall budget
of a mouth-watering £200,000. But I can assure you I was not flush with
money. My pride and joy was the one good camera I owned. Other cameras came on
loan from sponsors and for the colour pictures I was given a Wrayflex at half
price by the British firm Wray based in Bromley near London. Wray closed as an
independent company in 1962 and their Wrayflex is looked back on as the first
and only British-made SLR - Single Lens Reflex - that's the last of the jargon
for a moment.
more about the journey and the academic work - see The University of Bristol
one of their cumbersome Model ll of which they made less than 350. Today these
models are prized by collectors and one in pristine condition can cost more than
£2000.00 - or the equivalent of what it had cost new in 1960.
Wrayflex for thirteen months was fitted with a standard Wray Unilux 50mm f2.8
lens, and with extra lenses for telephoto and wide-angle the kit weighed in at
over 2 kilos. A meter for checking the light and some extension rings for close-ups
added another 500 grams.
the 'yellow giant' of silver-halide photography, so called from the colour of
its packaging, provided film at a discount. The cost of some processing was included.