Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000
Preface Introduction The Club Foundation 1809 Soiree 1899 Movies Member Prestige Council Meetings 1903 Founding President Mees Years 1904-12 The Great War Between The Wars Recorded Years Riots! Police! 1931 Edridge Road, 1932 1932 Nudes Ladies and Exhibitions Club Room eviction The Studio: 1933 Cine! Ladies! 1934 Highs and Lows, 1936 A/V, Stag Party, 1937 Freemasonry 1938 Baird Television 1938 War! 1940: Bombed ! Annual Report 1940-41 Making Do 1941 War Ends 1942-5 A War Retrospective Ladies? 1946 Ladies Admitted 1947-8 35mm Slides arrive Struggling 1949 SLF Out! 1949-50 Troubled 1950 Outings 1951 Winter Season 1951 Celebrations Mees Visits Croydon 1955 1956 Nonexistence 1957 1958-1959 1960 More Success 1961 The Darkroom 1961 Frivolity 1962 All Change 1963 1965-1967 Exhibitions 1967 Photeurop 1968 Photeurop 1969 Years 1970-1972 Terra Nova Years 1973 Years 1974-1975 19 Selsdon Road Years 1977-1979 Changes 1980 Friends Meeting House Close the Club 1983 Progress? 1984 Turnaround? 1985 Years 1987-1988 Slow Revival 1989 About Club Outings The Helpers Postscript
With the closure of the Studio, members continued to meet in each others' homes on a Sunday afternoon and this was discussed at the AGM held on 23rd February 1941. Despite having eye trouble and not wishing to stand as President, John Keane was re-elected together with the Treasurer and Secretary charged to hold the Club together during this very difficult time. The future of the Club was discussed with a view to putting the Sunday afternoon meetings on a more formal basis, but this day was considered not appropriate. A vote was taken resulting in Saturday 7, Saturday or Sunday 10, Sunday 13, so meetings would take place on the first or third Sundays each month at selected houses! It was agreed that 5/- annual subscription would not cover the costs incurred for each meeting and each member attending would be asked for 6d contribution.
So the Minute Book was re-opened on 15th March 1941, and formal meetings recommenced. However, the vote for Sunday afternoons proved inconvenient and at a Council meeting on 6th April it was agreed that the first and third Wednesdays at the Studio should be the day and venue from June onwards.
Norman Gryspeerdt was elected Vice Chairman with the hope expressed that his call-up papers would be long delayed. The Club however declined to embrace the many servicemen temporarily in town as a result of the Dunkirk evacuation by reaching no decision to allow those interested in photography to be welcome to the Club as guests.
Lecturers included Stanley Bowler of Gevaert on cine films, Miss Nettie Moon demonstrating airbrush technique in commercial photography and a newcomer to the Club on 18th June, Percy W. Harris FRPS, Editor of the Miniature Camera Magazine on "What is a Sharp Negative?"
With the Germans just across the Channel and spy fever at its height it was almost dangerous even to seen with a camera as this was to invite arrest as a suspect. How near this came about happened to the author who wanted to photograph a particular bomb damaged building which was surrounded by onlookers. Suddenly the people parted to let a lorry of debris be removed and before they could close ranks a picture was taken. I was swallowed up in the crowd. That night I developed the film and printed the picture and examined the contact with a magnifying glass I was horrified to see the two policemen who had cleared the way for the lorry, had spotted me and were pointing at me like a Kitchener poster. They wanted me for photographing bomb damage - but I had disappeared in the crowd. How lucky!
Members of the Club included many professionals and some photographic dealers, even if not members, knew who were members and co-operated to ensure that the very limited supply of films, paper and chemicals came to Club members who, making their requirements known, would call on the dealer at a time when the shop was empty of other customers and ask "Anything today?". Note: "anything?" If there was, it came from under the counter (literally) or from a room at the back in a plain wrapper and a request for payment (l/2d for a 620 film). Not until you were home did you examine your purchase! 620 and 120 films didn't matter as you re-spooled them to suit. Neither did film speed ranging from Kodak Verichrome from Australia or Canada at 30/- to ex RAF film that had fallen off the back of a lorry at 8/-. Materials were in short supply but Club membership ensured that whatever was available Croydon took first choice.
With shortage of material and in particular the restrictions on what could be photographed there was at this time considerable interest in indoor photography such as portraiture and table top and on 7th December 1941 the Club was fortunate indeed to have a visit from the then doyen on the subject - E. Heimann FRPS.
With the raid on Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941 bringing Japan and America into the War, the Club seemed to take the attitude that things could not now get any worse and embarked on a full summer and winter programme of meetings on first and third Wednesday of each month at 7.30 pm for the remainder of the year.
The AGM on 4th March 1942 re-elected John Keane despite his reiterating he wished to retire, together with the Secretary and Treasurer. It was noted that Mr A. S. Isaacs was over 80 and the only surviving founder member and he was elected Vice President together with Messrs Salt, Wratten and Harper; membership stood at 118. The rent for the Studio was £16.16.0 and the subscriptions raised £19.
Naturally, much use was made of the members expertise as travel difficulties in the black out made it less attractive for out-of-town visitors to come to Croydon. One well attended evening was on 1st November when W.A. Poucher FRPS showed slides "Studies in British Hills", and he subsequently had published several magnificent volumes of his pictures of British and other mountains.