Croydon Camera Club History 1980-1990
At the AGM in May 1981 problems of filling the vacancies on Council came up again. Stuart Pickford was persuaded to stand as President, this being a position he had already held 15 or so years earlier. However this meant there was a vacancy for Secretary. There was no nomination either for an Assistant Secretary. At the last minute Hannah O'Sullivan agreed to serve as Secretary for just one year and Harold Stillwell volunteered as Assistant Secretary.
Not everything at this time was going wrong. The Club again held an Annual Exhibition at the Fairfield Halls on May 20th 1981, for the second time in the Sun Lounge and again sponsored by the Midland Bank through the efforts of Liz Malarkey.
The Club put up a tent in Ashburton Park in the Summer of 1981 and filled it with pictures to advertise the Club. Members then watched as the direct sunlight caused those prints which had been mounted with aerosol spray mount to peel off and fall to the ground before their very eyes. It was a very hot day and the old hands were heard to say that this had never happened to their prints which had been put on using dry mounting presses.
Another event was the first Club Barbeque held in the delightful gardens of Joy and Tony Cane at Shirley. This was to become a much welcomed tradition in following years.
However photographically the Club declined. The lack of good competition and stimulus was causing the Advanced Class to decline. The Club was left with David Malarkey and Ian Coulling, two tremendous photographers, as almost the whole of the advanced class. Ian Coulling was producing some wonderful landscapes. A wide angle lens and sepia toning were becoming a trademark of his prints. David Malarkey, prolific in his production of excellent black and white prints, was however to leave the Club, later to join the London Independent Photographers and go through a phase of minimalism although never giving up his passion for photography.
These two were joined in competition from time to time by David Thorpe and Trevor Gibbons, both talented photographers, but with real loyalties to other Clubs, Reigate and Caterham respectively, and who came to Croydon to give their pictures a second showing.
The lack of advanced members showed in the results of the 1981 C.A. Exhibition when only Raymond Duthoit gained an acceptance for the Club.
The first key to a successful Club has been mentioned as having a good Syllabus. The strength of the advanced group and the competitiveness of Club competitions seems to be the second key to success and this was declining in Croydon. The third must be decent accommodation for the Wednesday evening meetings. The Selsdon Road Dance Studios in South Croydon were clearly not ideal. Members and visitors were kept waiting outside before the start of the evening while the dancing classes finished. The cooking smells coming from the residents kitchen and the dirty kitchen for making tea and coffee also didn't help.
So it seemed like excellent news when President Stuart Pickford announced that he had -found a new room in the Friends Meeting House, run by the Society of Friends, at the town end of Park Lane. The Club moved there promptly with seemingly no recorded opposition. However although it met the requirements of allowing the Club to get in early, being spotlessly clean, with a good kitchen, enjoying a fairly central location and not too expensive — absolutely ideal one might say — it didn't please all of the members. It was said to be rather 'church' like in its atmosphere and its wardens were rather strict.
Brian Moore was unwilling to do another year as Syllabus Secretary and Donald Macfarlane had to be persuaded to take over the Syllabus. The Club had a rather more traditional Camera Club programme, with mostly SLF judges. The opening night at the Friends meeting House on October 7th 1981 was a Print Competition judged by Alan Richards who had not been seen for many years. He was welcomed back with a good attendance and a reasonably sized print entry. This good start gave some hope for the future, but that evening turned out to be a flash in the pan and attendances and competitions declined slowly in quality and quantity through the winter of 1981 to 1982 despite some notable evenings including a Metropolitan Police photograher Mr K.Creer talking about 'Forensic Photography' and a demonstration of Back Projection by Malham Photography
During 1981 the Club was left £300 in the will of R.A.Y.W.Stevenson who had been the Club Lanternist for many years in the 20's and 30's. For years the Club was undecided what to do with this bequest. It bought a tankard for Internal competition but didn't spend the rest until it helped finance the Centenary Celebrations in 1990.
There was no Annual Exhibition in 1982.