Page One: Box discovered in ‘downstairs loo’

Winston ChurchillThe treasures include this image of Winston Churchill

Picture credit: Open Agency Ltd

Photographs of Hollywood stars, discovered in the toilet of a house in Hampshire, are available for the public to view for the first time.


The box of around 3,000 film negatives, glass plates and prints were languishing in the ?downstairs loo? of a house in Southampton, owned by photo enthusiast Fred Murley.

The gems, which date from the 1930s and include subjects such as Cary Grant and Elizabeth Taylor, have been uploaded to the internet after a restoration process spanning several years.

Many are believed to have been snapped on board the ocean-going liner, the Queen Mary, by photographers working for Ocean Pictures between 1936 and 1939.

?Some of them are quite watermarked. There is a Bob Hope one which had what looked like water droplets all over it,? said Emma Bacon, a spokeswoman for London-based library, Open Agency, which has bought the images for an undisclosed sum.

The portraits, which include shots of famous names such as Laurel and Hardy, Fred Perry and Edward VIII, would have been available for sale to the ship?s passengers.

Researchers, who were on a mission to trace the history of Cunard, tracked down the collection to Murley, a Southampton-based businessman whose widow, Clare, had kept many of the treasures in a ?toilet under the stairs? for over 20 years.

The rest were discovered in a garage.

?We have had to scan them all,? said Bacon who added that the researchers came across the pictures after placing adverts in several local newspapers.

Marlene DietrichMarlene Dietrich

Picture credit: Open Agency Ltd

Page Two: Many famous names among the 3,000 images

Though the images were first discovered in 2004 they are now available to view online ? the first time the public has been given a chance to see the pictures, said Bacon.

Prints from the website-based archive – which also includes images of exotic destinations visited by Cunard ocean liners – are available for the public to buy.

For details visit

laurel and hardyLaurel and Hardy

Picture credit: Open Agency Ltd

Alfred HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock

Picture credit: Open Agency Ltd