2020 is a very special year for us at Metro Imaging, as it’s our 40th Anniversary!
Founded by Ben Richardson and his best friend from school, Mike Trevillion, Metro began as a two-man operation, providing black and white printing back in 1980 from a small establishment in Great Titchfield Street. Great energy and a genuine passion for the business soon earned Metro a reputation for quality and innovation, establishing the UK’s original photographic imaging company. From there, we expanded and evolved, along with the photographic industry, to where we are today.
The business rapidly expanded as a skilled and committed team were established. In 1983 the colour department is set up, and by 1985 Metro had relocated to larger premises in Great Sutton Street and, along with it, a 24/7 E6 processing lab is introduced. From then onwards Metro kept moving forward steadily, and by 2000 the business had already expanded into the field of electronic imaging, C-type printing, C41 colour processing and contacting, photo retouching, mounting and framing, online services, and films sales. The Metro group opened branches all across London in Chelsea, Soho, Clerkenwell, and Waterloo.
By the mid-2000s, the photographic industry saw a decline in demand for traditional printing and film processing. Given its fundamental adaptability and flexibility, which has kept us thriving at the forefront of an ever-changing market, Metro relocated to cosier premises in Great Sutton Street, eventually shutting down other branches, with business moving towards digital printing and online services. And whilst the demand for analogue services has grown smaller throughout the years, Metro are proud to still offer a full range of film processing and scanning services, B&W hand printing, and the finest quality Digital C-type and Silver Gelatin printing.
In 2009 came the delivery of one of only ten Superwide Lightjet 500XL printers, and with it Metro Imaging became one of only two commercial printing labs in Europe, and the only UK lab, to be able to print to 72” wide. It is the only photographic printer in the world which can print to 10ft x 6ft in one section, making it the number one choice for fine art photographers. The Lightjet had to be craned over the building into the back courtyard, closing off Great Sutton Street for the day, with an entire wall dismantled and rebuilt to accommodate the machine!
By 2012 Metro Imaging was granted the Royal Warrant by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, recognising our close relationship as a supplier to the Duchy of Cornwall for many years.
Metro Imaging’s passion and commitment to excellence and the highest standard of service has made us the most trusted professional photo lab in the UK, establishing us as specialists in the Fine Art and Photography industry amongst galleries, museums, collectors and educational institutions.
We’ll be celebrating at various points throughout the year, so stay tuned! Thank you for an incredible 40 years!
You can find our full timeline via our About page.