I believe the Kershaw
Peregrine 111 to be, without a doubt, the
finest camera of its type: I have been lucky enough to use many
cameras, including its direct competitor, the Super Ikonta IV. I
spent five years of my life being closely associated with cameras.
In the early sixties, as an adjunct to my Pharmacy, I started a
business called 'Shaftesbury Cameras' which rapidly grew to be one
of the leading retailers in the U.K. Prior to that, I had always
been keen on photography and as an early teenager I had an Ensign
Selfix 16/20 (I still have it) and spent all my spare time in the
darkroom. A member of the local Malvern Camera Club had a Peregrine
111 and its TTH Adotal lens was capable of fantastic definition,
even superior to the world-renown Tessar. In 1950, on holiday with
my parents in Bournemouth, we saw a brand new Peregrine 111 for sale
in 'Beales' and my father very kindly bought it for me. It cost £58
which was a lot of money then, equivalent to £1,490.00 now, using
the retail price index. It is only now, having carried out this
'conversion' that I fully realise how generous my father was and
also, how prices of cameras have fallen in real terms over time. The
same is true of watches and other instruments.
They were made at the Kershaw Works in Leeds, at 200 Harehills Lane. The company had earlier produced the famous Soho Reflex. Kershaw named most of their cameras after birds.
The Peregrine series comprised three variants, each model having different lens/shutter combinations - the Model I was fitted with a Kershaw f/4.5 lens in an eight speed shutter (with no flash synchronisation), the Model II with a Taylor Hobson f/3.5 in a Talykron 9-speed shutter and the Model III has a Taylor-Hobson f/2.9 lens in a Talykron 9-speed shutter. The II and III have flash synchronisation and all three models have double exposure interlock. The I and II have folding optical finders. The Peregrine III has a coupled rangefinder with a common viewfinder/rangefinder window. The Peregrine, was only available for a short time and not many cameras seem to have been made. The Model I cost £17 15s. 3d., the Model II cost £30 17s. 11d. and the Model III was £48 18s. 3d.(these prices exclude purchase tax). In 1950 a price reduction was announced for the Model II (£28 13s. 4d. including tax) The Model I appears to have been discontinued and the Model II price remained unchanged.
The company announced that the Peregrine 111 would be available from October 1948, but they also made it plain that these dates were for initial production runs and that supplies would be limited. By 1950 the range had been discontinued and some estimates of production numbers are as low as 500 (a figure that cannot be verified at the moment) but they are certainly very rare. From the sales records (below) the 'sold' camera numbers show at least 388 were made. It may well be that following the initial run, manufacture was discontinued due to insufficient demand. See the Kershaw advertisements of the time.
I am hoping to locate current owners via this web page and hopefully, serial numbers of their cameras may well provide some interesting information.
Here are some illustrations by courtesy of Leicaism.net Please click on the
thumbnail for the full photograph.