On the morning of 5 October 1962, Detective Sergeant Marshall of the London Metropolitan Police was granted a warrant to search the house of Ivor Cook. Cook’s name had been passed on to the police, alongside other individuals who were “engaged together in printing obscene books, filming and reproducing obscene pictures and subsequently selling their wares to the proprietors of low-class book shops in London and Aldershot”. Having already searched the houses of the others implicated in this trade, Marshall was eager to pay a visit to Cook that same morning. At 10:45 am, Marshall and two of his colleagues entered Cook’s house in South East London, immediately discovering four 8mm “obscene films” in the hallway of the house. When questioned about the origin of these films, Cook explained that he had purchased them from a shop in Soho for £17 each and intended to keep two and sell the others on to pay for the ones that he had kept. As the search progressed, Marshall and his team found and seized a “quantity of photographic equipment”. Amongst the equipment were cards, suggesting that Cook was producing Soho Postcards and selling them via bookshops. “They are old cards”, Cook told Marshall, “I forget what they are about now, they could refer to photographs, as I told you before I used to take portraits”.
In his report of the search, Marshall is mystified by the lack of any photographic negatives on the property, aside from the ones already present in the seized equipment; when developed, these were found not to be obscene. Marshall also discovered some pearl necklaces and earrings. Cook claimed that these were bankrupt stock purchased from a man whose name and address he, rather conveniently it seems, did not know. Marshall suspected that these were from a Mayfair jeweller. After further enquiries, he found that a parcel containing imitation pearls from this jeweller was “stolen in the post”. Marshall describes Cook as a “cute individual”, who he believes is “actively engaged in the processing and selling of obscene films and photographs”. He notes that Cook was spending far more than his income as a rent collector, and denied knowing others named in the conspiracy to produce obscene publications for gain. On 16 November 1962, Marshall learned through an anonymous tip that Cook had a photographic studio in Latymer Road, Hammersmith, and this is where his “obscene material” was being stored. Marshall secured a warrant, allowing him and two of his colleagues to search the studio. Though they found evidence of photographs being taken at the premises, there was nothing left to indicate that these were obscene. Marshall discovered that the attic space was rented to an “Ivor Collins” for two years. When collecting his seized photography equipment, Cook was asked about this studio space. Cook admitted to renting the studio, but had ended the business due to a lack of business.
From Marshall’s report, it is evident that he was highly suspicious of Cook. Marshall’s suspicions were well-founded, as Cook was one of the early producers of rollers: black and white – sometimes colour – 8mm films around 10-12 minutes in length depicting hardcore sex.