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  #1  
Old 12th August 2023, 01:54 PM
RobML RobML is offline
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Default Ahoy there from NW England (just)

Hi all,

I've decided to take up film photography again as a hobby, and I've mainly joined here to seek more information on either;

a) Being able to access and use a nearby darkroom, as google-fu has failed me on being able to locate one.

b) Get some advice on setting a dark room up.

Looking forward to farting about with the camera once some 35mm film turns up in the post.
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Old 15th August 2023, 10:00 AM
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B&W Neil B&W Neil is offline
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Hi Rob,

Welcome to FADU.

You could try a local college to see if they have a darkroom you could use. Some colleges still have one so that students have a choice.

Also you can get started with quite little - I got started with a borrowed 35mm enlarger in a blacked out kitchen.

Just ask away on here if you want to know or check anything.

Neil.
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  #3  
Old 15th August 2023, 10:14 AM
Michael Michael is offline
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Hello Rob. I tried the "Services" tab on this Ilford page and from "Find a darkroom" found a couple of suggestions using Carlisle as a centre. I don't know how useful they would be; but you never know.
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Old 15th August 2023, 11:31 AM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Welcome to the site Rob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
Hello Rob. I tried the "Services" tab on this Ilford page and from "Find a darkroom" found a couple of suggestions using Carlisle as a centre. I don't know how useful they would be; but you never know.
I too just tried this link Michael, and I don't know if you were lucky enough to get the right page, but only the top and bottom links work for me.

The middle four links - which includes the 'find a darkroom' link - all took me to 'find a store', which I decided to check. According to the site, my closest is in BUENOS AIRES(!!) And there was me thinking that it was about 20 miles away...

I also tried some old google links but they were all dead.

Terry S
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Old 15th August 2023, 11:51 AM
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BuzzNL BuzzNL is offline
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Welcome! Do you already have darkroom experience from the past?

As I have no clue of the availability of public darkrooms in the UK, I'll share my thoughts and experience on building a simple darkroom.
It doesn't have to be too complicated or expensive, depending on what you define as good enough for your needs.
If you have high requirements and ample space and budget then the following will probably not be for you.
Otherwise, this is how I built my darkroom and it might give you some ideas to start with:

Mine is a super basic makeshift darkroom as our house doesn't have the space for a permanent darkroom.
So I have set up my enlarger in a corner of our attic (which doubles as our laundry room and storage area).
I've made some wooden (MDF) panels to black out the windows of the attic and I put an extra blanket in front of them to cover the last bits of stray light around the sides of the panels.
Another blanket gets thrown on the floor against the door to cover the stray light from under the door sill.
Then my attic is pitch black, even when the sun is at its brightest outside.

In terms of gear you can look out for a cheap secondhand enlarger online.
Developing trays are not too expensive and for safelight you could even use one of those battery powered bike rear LED lights.

Ideally you'd have running water in your darkroom, but this isn't even necessary per sé.
My attic doesn't have a sink or running water, so I use two big buckets of water to wash my prints in. A quick wash in the first bucket removes most of the residual fixer and then I let the print soak a little longer in the second bucket. RC paper will be OK after that, FB paper I wash a little longer in the bathtub downstairs afterwards.
I have some towels on a table where I let the excess water drip off the prints and then I let them dry on our laundry rack.

My whole setup takes me about 10-15 minutes to set up and about the same time to break down when I'm done.
The enlarger has a permanent spot so I don't run into alignment issues from taking it apart between sessions, the rest (trays, buckets, towels etc) I clean up after I'm done and all that gets stored in a closet until the next time I need it.
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Old 15th August 2023, 01:08 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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Hi Rob

Welcome and good luck with your photographic journey.

Martin
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Old 15th August 2023, 03:36 PM
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MartyNL MartyNL is offline
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Hello and welcome to the forum.
If you've got the space, then nothing beats having your own darkroom.
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Old 15th August 2023, 08:32 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Welcome Rob. All you really need is a room or even a cupboard fitted to the underside of say a staircase that can have the door made lightproof and which is big enough to stand-up in and accepts a minimum of two trays for paper developer and fixer. You can do the washing of the paper somewhere else such as a bath or kitchen sink. The only real "tool" is an enlarger

What I have described is fairly primitive but will work if you need it to

Film processing can be done in normal light with a changing bag

However I have no way of knowing if any of what I have said is practical in your case so really we need to know a little more about your available space before advice can be tailored to your circumstances

If you want to try before you buy by using the Ilford Photo site on finding a local darkroom first then unfortunately when I tried just now I had the same issue as you namely I got addresses in Bueno Aires

I was eventually able to home in on the NW of England and got two addresses but of the first one I tried in Kendall called Wilkinson Cameras it seems to be just a shop selling cameras

So unless I am doing something wrong, the Ilford "Find A Darkroom " was about as useless as a chocolate teapot

Has anyone else in the U.K. has any success with this "Darkroom Finder"

Not a great start for you Rob

Mike
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Old 16th August 2023, 11:59 AM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike O'Pray View Post

So unless I am doing something wrong, the Ilford "Find A Darkroom " was about as useless as a chocolate teapot

Has anyone else in the U.K. has any success with this "Darkroom Finder"

Mike
I was just about to agree with you Mike, and to say that I registered when it first appeared and I used to come up on the map.

But returning today, maybe I was doing something slightly wrong...?

In the top LHS grey box, at the bottom of it you have to select 'Darkroom' from the options, something which I didn't notice yesterday. Also, after changing the radius to further afield, I did manage - eventually - to get a get a few addresses about 50 km away, when previously on its release, mine and a few other addresses popped up locally. So maybe it's been reset and the cache of addresses deleted?

I think that I will try inputting my details again and see what happens.

Terry S

EDIT: OK, I have just tried to find a way to re-input my details on the map, but it no longer seems possible to do...

Last edited by Terry S; 16th August 2023 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 16th August 2023, 03:35 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry S View Post
I was just about to agree with you Mike, and to say that I registered when it first appeared and I used to come up on the map.

But returning today, maybe I was doing something slightly wrong...?

In the top LHS grey box, at the bottom of it you have to select 'Darkroom' from the options, something which I didn't notice yesterday. Also, after changing the radius to further afield, I did manage - eventually - to get a get a few addresses about 50 km away, when previously on its release, mine and a few other addresses popped up locally. So maybe it's been reset and the cache of addresses deleted?

I think that I will try inputting my details again and see what happens.

Terry S

EDIT: OK, I have just tried to find a way to re-input my details on the map, but it no longer seems possible to do...
Yes it doesn't sound good. Call me dismal Jimmy but it's as if there wasn't enough interest in that section or for some reason Ilford whom we should really refer to as Pemberstone( the owners) or IlfordPhoto as it is now called has lost interest in promoting "Find a darkroom"

Maybe it couldn't find enough interest to make that section viable. If so then pity it hasn't been honest about this

Mike
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