A tribute to Grahame Mountford

Grahame Mountford

“A gentleman in all of the things he touched”

There have been few who contributed more to the Institute than did Grahame Mountford.

Grahame was born in Burton-on-Trent on 10 March 1927. He left grammar school at the end of the war and trained in physiotherapy. He then joined the Royal Navy serving a short commission. Whilst in the Navy, he was attached to the Royal Marine Commando Unit at Lympstone, to the staff of Flag Officer Air Home, and to the Flag Officer Royal Yachts.

He served on the Royal Yacht, the SS Gothic, and plans were made for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled due to the death of King George VI on 6 February 1952. 

Following his Naval service, Grahame qualified as a radiographer and worked in Chelmsford and London, becoming a Superintendent Radiographer. In 1957 he joined llford Limited, where he worked with Miss K. C. Clark (the author of Positioning in Radiography) at Tavistock House. In 1963 he moved to Agfa Limited at Wimbledon. He had been headhunted to join Agfa following their return to the UK X-ray market as the sole member of that division. The main product was a double wrapper film for extremities called Sino Film (Agfa Röntgen Film).

In 1964 the company merged with the Belgian company Gevaert to form Agfa-Gevaert. Following the merger of Agfa and Gevaert, he joined the X-ray team of Gevaert. When Bill Kirby retired in 1968, Grahame took up the post of medical X-ray sales manager, and in 1978 he was promoted to be the divisional manager of the newly formed Medical, Industrial and Scientific departments. Grahame was then made a director of this now much enlarged division of the company.

When the headquarters of AG UK were redeveloped, Grahame made sure it would include a training area as, with the demise of Ilford, the training at Tavistock House was lost.

The radiographic processing industry went through major changes during Grahame’s time with Agfa. For example, there was a major crisis in 1980–81 when international speculation on the silver market resulted in a significant rise in the price of silver, which became seven times more expensive than it had been the previous year. These high prices put Agfa-Gevaert in a difficult situation as a photographic company. There has also been progressive change, with the introduction of new digital technologies, Agfa being the driving force behind many of them.  


Graham always had a vision of where he wanted the division to go both in its commercial goals and in furthering the development of medical imaging. A colleague described him as a gentleman in all of the things he touched. He always tried to ensure Agfa-Gevaert supported the development of the Radiographic and Radiological community. Gevaert supported the publication of one of the most remarkable radiographic books How to Succeed as a Radiographerby Mavis Reynolds, with its dry wit and classic illustrations!

Now Don't Move - from How to Succeed as a Radiographer

Grahame was a long-term supporter of The British Institute of Radiology. He was an active member of the Industry Committee, joining it in 1977, and becoming its Chair. In 1980 he was appointed Secretary to the Scientific Committee and elected to the BIR Council. He encouraged others to be involved in BIR activities, encouraging John Twydle to join the BIR Industry Committee, and Liz Beckmann to become Vice-President. He was Director of the Technical Exhibition at the BIR Annual Congress since larger congresses started in 1985. Grahame was BIR President 1987–88. He was made Fellow of the College of Radiographers, and Honorary Member of the Royal College of Radiologists. 

Grahame had a long-term interest in the history of radiology. He was a founder member of the UK radiology group that became the British Society for the History of Radiology. He was the Treasurer for many years, and when he finally stood down he was awarded Honorary Membership. Other interests included reading, theatre and classical music. He was a member of the London Mozart Society.

Following his retirement from Agfa, Grahame worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Rother and East Sussex and was greatly valued, being a Director. When he reached the upper age limit for service the CAB was determined to keep him and appointed him as their Chairperson.

Grahame is survived by his wife, Jenny, who was a Personnel Officer at the BBC, and this year they would have been married for 35 years.  

Written by BIR Honorary Historian, Dr Adrian Thomas. 

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