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
The last Club meeting of the Summer Session on 26th September 1951, ended in tumult and the best evidence is the actual record made of the occasion by the Assistant Secretary Aubrey Williams:-
"A faithful record should not avoid mention of an incident at this meeting which might be deemed unseemly. Mr Taylor during the evening brought in and erected a cinematograph machine. It was not modern. At a distance, in fact it seemed to resemble a model of an oil refinery. The lights were extinguished and film began to show which would appear to have concerned itself with older and happier days in Cornwall. Members remained polite. Suddenly as the scene moved through a small coast town there burst upon them music from Mr Taylor's gramophone the strains of a stirring military tune and one to which derisive words have long since been put. Members remained polite.
The scene changed - a rocky coast and Mr Taylor, in the dark, moved from his projector to the gramophone and the studio was filled with the cries of seagulls. A meadow, a leap in the dark, and the gentle lowing of cows. It was bound to happen. A drove of pigs came towards members uttering cries similar to cockerel as the wrong record was played. This was too much. Pandemonium broke out.
From out of the darkness, Associates of the Royal vied with the veriest tyros in the hurling of stylised animal noises at the screen. Mr Taylor maintained his purpose to the end, the animals came and went, the members zestfully hurling their greetings.
The tumult and shouting died. The lights perhaps brought embarrassment. The summer season was over. A happy one."
For the start of the Winter Session the President opened the meeting at 8.01 and expressed his intention of adhering to punctuality, a decision which implied that previous starting times had not been prompt.
Elected to membership on 10th October 1951, was Harold T. Stillwell who in his continued membership to date of 39 years was to be responsible for ensuring the survival of the Club on more than one occasion, with two terms of Presidency - 1967-70, and again 1983-85 with periods as Hon Secretary - 1959-1960. It was his devotion to the aims of Photeurop in the 1970s which placed Croydon firmly on the international scene. H. T. Stillwell is a dedicated Club member with a single purpose of supporting the Club fellow members and did not divert his energy in the wider field of photography outside Croydon. From the first meeting he attended up to his retirement, his was a firm and guiding hand, following the example of the founding fathers of the Club.
R. A. W. Y. Stevenson ARPS on 17th October explained to the Club the late E. A. Salt "Shutter Tester", first demonstrated to the RPS in 1909, and on 31st October Percy W. Harris again with "Color up to Date" and a prophesy that "we must become reconciled to the inevitable day when a picture in monochrome will be as rare as a hansom cab". How wrong can you be?
I.D. Wratten FRPS President RPS was the guest of honour at the Annual Dinner on 10th November when congratulations were offered to H. G. Trodd ARPS for his picture "Angry Matterhorn" being retained for the London Salon Permanent Collection after also being published in "Photograms of the Year".
The visit of Karl Pollok FRPS on 21st November 1951 was an evening to cherish for a lifetime. A small Polish man of intense meaning and expression whose superb portraits were characterised by the position of the hands. He would stride up and down The Studio impressing all that "ze hands" were all important. His zeal for his art was almost fanatical and the spontaneous applause that members gave at the end of his address showed they had been stirred as seldom before. There will never be another like him. If lecturers like Mr Pollak were bringing the members in, the reception they were receiving was keeping them away, and yet again Council had to be informed that there must be a scheme to receive new members when they entered the Club and it was suggested that Council members themselves should act as hosts.
Membership cards were to be provided as a means of identification, and to assist in compliance with the Licensing Acts.
Early in 1952 Charles Duncan (then 79 years young) told about his first visit to the Club in the winter of 1901 when he drew up before our Club premises in George Street in a smart pony and trap, bearing with him the somewhat bulky equipment with which he planned to surprise and delight us.
"After he had been received with due ceremony by the committee of welcome, the question arose : what to do with the pony? For when dealing with one of these animals you cannot just throw a rug over his radiator, light a little lamp under his bonnet, and forget him. Under such treatment, a pony's patience is likely to become exhausted and anything may happen. However, a kindly neighbour came to our rescue and the animal was tethered in his back garden. Hours later, after a successful evening, the lecturer and the Club officials went out into the night with a view to re-uniting the pony and the trap, only to find the prime mover was no longer in the kindly neighbour's garden. Fresh 'spoor' was discovered and tracked to a recent break in the fence separating the kindly neighbour's garden from the one next door. In the latter, the pony was found in a happy state of repletion having just swallowed the last of a promising crop of cabbages."
The funds of the Club must have been on a more sound footing as it was agreed on 26th January 1952 that the Exhibition Award Fund should be used to provide a Chain of Office for the President, which was designed by "Spacky". It was also agreed to abolish the Hospitality Fund which was supported by voluntary contributions by about one-sixth of the membership and take the money needed from the subscription income, which should be raised to 25/-. This was approved at the AGM on 28th May.
With the arrival of a new librarian at Croydon the Surrey Photographic Survey was to receive a new impetus. At Council meeting on 23rd March Antony Friese Greene, grandson of Mr F. G. expressed a wish to give an award in memory of W. F. G. which would be a Silver Medal for Monochrome Lantern Slides as so few members did cine work.