About Willoughby Gullachsen
Willoughby 'Gus' Gullachsen was born in Cullercoats, Northumberland in 1921. He worked as a professional photographer from 1936. He started working as a darkroom assistant in Newcastle, before moving to Manchester to study at the Manchester College of Technology. Gus moved to Birmingham and in February 1939, he became a photographer's assistant with Boswell & Barrett of Steelhouse Lane. He worked at that year's British Industries Fair at Castle Bromwich. Gus then became a dark room assistant at the Cornwall Studios in the city centre. During the Second World War, Willoughby Gullachsen served in the RAF as a war photographer in South Africa, India and Iraq.
He returned to Birmingham in 1945 and established himself as a freelance photographer, he also obtained commissions from newspapers and magazines such as the Midland Chronicle, Midland Beat, various Birmingham newspapers and national magazines. This 'media' work developed into commissions from the Dudley Hippodrome and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. In 1949, he opened his own studio in West Bromwich, working for the Midland Chronicle and Free Press Weekly locally and worked regularly as a freelance for the TV Times, ABC Television and ATV. From 1964, Willoughby Gullachsen worked for the BBC providing, amongst others, the photography for four Borchester Echos and worked as unit photographer on Chris Tarrant's Tiswas.
From 1968 until 1984, he was engaged as the Birmingham Repertory Theatre's official photographer, for all 189 productions during this period. He continued to work as unit photographer for BBC Regional Television Drama on location throughout the UK from 1972 until 1994.
After retirement, Gus remained an active enthusiast photographer, working more recently with digital images. As well as being a commercial photographer, Gus was active in the Birmingham Press Club, becoming Chairman in 1983, and later being awarded honorary life membership. Willoughby Gullachsen died in February 2014.