Frank Maguire, would have been an agent
for Edison's Phonograph in Asia, and Joseph Baucus, a New York Wall Street
attorney, purchased the world rights for the distribution of the Edison
Kinetoscope, excluding the US and Canada.
Maguire and Baucus opened an office in New
York and in London. They opened the first Kinetoscope parlour in London
at 70 Oxford Street on October 17, 1894 under the name Continental Commerce
Co. Seven films were shown which were the first films to be shown in the
UK. Of course, this first showing caused a tremendous amount of excitement.
Maguire and Baucus had the
rights to give exhibitions, sell Kinetoscope machines AND films supplies
by Edison. However, Edison made the mistake no to patent his equipment in
Europe and relied only on a US patent.
Realizing this mistake, interested businessmen quickly
took the Kinetoscope to R.W.
Paul, a local electrician and engineer who recreated the machines and
circulating the new equipment.
By 1896, the boom market for the Kinetoscope had rapidly
declined for the new theater screening and the Maguire and Baucus office
was in disarray.
Also in 1896, Charles
Urban obtained the agency rights for the Edison Vitascope projector
for Michigan. He was approached by Maguire and Baucus to go to London and
take charge of the London office and turn it around.
In 1897, Urban moved to London and after looking over
the situation there, made some drastic changes. He moved the office into
the heart of the theater district to Warwick Street and changed the name
to Warwick Trading Company. Urban also realigned Warwick to distribute British
and French films from film suppliers such as Lumiere and Melies. He also
contracted with local film producers such as G. A. Smith and James Williamson.
He also sold British projectors created by Alfred Darling.
Warwick Trading became the dominant distributor and
supplier in the UK with Urban at the helm. However, in 1903, Urban left
to start his own company, the Charles Urban Trading Company and Warwick
lost its influence on the British market.
James H. White was sent by Edison to replace Urban
and manage all of his European affairs. White spent the next couple of years
organizing but put more effort in the Phonograph business instead of the
film equipment. White left in 1906 'for personal reasons'.
In 1906, Will Barker took control of the management
and sold Warwick his Autoscope Company. His influence in the industry quickly
turned Warwick into a major force again.
Barker had purchased a mansion in 1907 and ground
and started a new studio which would be later known as Ealing.
Barker managed Warwick and built his studio until
1913 when Cherry Kearton bought Warwick.
Kearton, an author, cinematographer and producer was
a firm believer in documentaries and nature films. Kearton quickly capitalized
on the war by releasing Whirlpool of War which was a World War I weekly
news cinemagazine. The series continued until February of 1915, the last
release was series #33.
Kearton closed Warwick in 1915.