1866 – 1952
Who was Sagar Mitchell?
The son of John and Eliza Mitchell, he was educated at a private academy and apprenticed as a cabinet maker. In 1887 Sagar and his father John founded the firm of S. & J. Mitchell, a photographic apparatus manufacturing and dealing business.
Although associated in partnership with James Kenyon since 1897 little is known of their film production until 1899. The success of their early films encouraged Mitchell to give up his shop and in September 1901 Mitchell and Kenyon moved into premises in Clayton Street, Blackburn, to concentrate on film production. Mitchell and Kenyon used the trade name of Norden, the company became one of the largest film producers in the United Kingdom in the 1900s, producing a mixture of "topicals", fiction, and fake war films. Many of these films were produced for travelling showmen.
In May 1907 Sagar Mitchell resumed possession of his original business S. & J. Mitchell, at 40 Northgate, Blackburn. The volume of film production seems to have tailed off from this date, and from 1909 was increasingly restricted to local events. The last surviving film dates from 1913. Mitchell was joined in his business by his son John in 1921. His partnership with Kenyon was formally dissolved around 1922 and Kenyon died in 1925. Mitchell carefully stored the film negatives away in the basement of his shop. He lived to the age of 85, and died on 2 October 1952. John continued to run the business until he retired in 1960.
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