Percival Macdonald Goodchild

Percival Macdonald Goodchild was born in 1877 in Leamington Spa, England. Photography featured strongly in Percy’s family. In 1901, Percy, his sister Lily and their mother Jane were all working as professional photographers, and the family was living in the centre of Leamington.

Percy married Ethel Maud Foulger in 1901 and the couple had six children. They moved to King's Lynn in 1908. A photographer, he formed a partnership with Miss Amy Purdy, a local chemist. Their business expanded into the vacant shop at No. 84 London Road. After working for Miss Purdy for many years, he bought the high street shop in in the late 1920s when she retired.

Goodchild was also a pioneer of cine photography and delighted local audiences with some of his early films. However, his reputation was as a portrait photographer and he frequently entered national competitions and exhibitions. In August 1938, four of his portraits were displayed at the annual exhibition of the Professional Photographers’ Association in Piccadilly.

In 1946 Goodchild was commissioned by British ORT to document its marine training programme aboard the ORT T.S. Joseph Hertz, which was moored on the Thames Estuary [see images].

Percy’s photographic business flourished and he was joined by his son Jack. He was known as the town photographer in Kings Lynn and as such was often called to take pictures of the royal family at nearby Sandringham. At an age before people all had cameras, he photographed Queen Mary's tea services and the family’s dogs and hounds. Queen Mary would be dropped off at the shop so she could pop in and buy pictures. He also took a photograph of King George VI out shooting just months before he died in 1952.

Percy Goodchild died in 1962 and the family business, run by his sons Dick and Jack, closed around 1980.

Goodchild’s photographic archives are held at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum. Some of his records are held at Norfolk Record Office.