Liverpool City Police


by brian starkey

The founder of the photographic company 'Carbonora' was Gwilym Eiriol Mills,who started trading as a photographer in Bangor, North Wales in 1876. Originating from Llanidloes, near Welshpool, Mid Wales, Gwilym moved to Liverpool in 1907 and was employed by Weisker Bros., Kinematograph & Photographic Experts of Wilde Street, Liverpool. In 1908 he bought the business and the name was changed to Carbonora. The name Carbonora was derived from the 'carbon' process used in the development of photographs at that time and adding 'ora' at the end.

Gwilym ran a successful business producing many postcards depicting scenes of Liverpool and its surrounding area. In 1909 Carbonora became the official photographer for Liverpool City Police photographing many events, passing - out parades and portraits of serving police officers. The company was responsible for photographing scenes of the 1911 transport strike and 1919 Police strike. After the 1911 strike Liverpool City Police seized many of the photographs taken by Carbonora because some depicted police officers baton charging crowds. Approximately eight of these photographs were destroyed by the police.

In 1928 Gwilym became the official photographer for Liverpool Football Club.

Before the start of the 2nd World War, Carbonora moved to premises in Lord Street. During the 1941 blitz the shop was destroyed resulting in the loss of many photographs and records.

Carbonora became a Limited company on 6th July 1950 and was based at 145 Walton Road, Liverpool. In 1960, the company moved to 11, Hope Street, next to the Everyman theatre and on 5th February 1960 changed its name to John Mills Photography Ltd.

The company now trades as 'Mills Media Ltd' and concentrates on commercial, aerial and industrial photography amongst other diverse creative services.

The company remains a family run business with the grandson of Gwilym, Andrew Mills at the helm with his granddaughter, Jenny as the Financial Director. They are now based on the Wirral, as a creative production house offering photography, video production, exhibition services, design and conference production.


Gwilym died on the 27th March 1971 on the Wirral.

Source: Andrew Mills - millsmediagroup

Brian Starkey

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1911 strike armoured car showing Carbonara - click to enlarge

In the above photograph Gwiliym Eiriol Mills (Carbonora) is seated on the running board wearing the flat cap.

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