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 Club library was not supported and at a meeting on 13th June 1972 agreed to sell off the books. The Rollei projector donated by John F. Keane was prone to jamming slides and it was agreed to dispose of it and purchase two identical projectors with the "Fadomatic" device from Lady Pollock for £70. Meetings continued to start late and resignations of Chris Corn, Harry Cundell and Tessa Most expressed dissatisfaction at the way the Club conducted its affairs, though photographically individual honours were gained by Alan Richards with a double fellowship RPS.
Croydon had by 1973 intimated it would pull out of Photeurop as to participate would mean raising £800. The news was greeted with dismay by the French who were "desperately sorry to lose the co-operation of the British who had always been so reasonable in contrast to the Belgians who were almost impossible to work with!" The Belgians and Swiss hoped the British would stay on as a stabilising influence to the French! The compromise proposal was to hold Photeurop every two years. This did not meet with the French approval and Val de Bievres resigned in July 1973. Nonetheless the 13th Photeurop was held at the Fairfield Halls from 1st to 10th January 1973 and the 14th Photeurop in January 1975.
Although happy at The Studio there was increasing concern that the tenancy would end soon, as the Croydon Corporation had plans for rebuilding on the site. The Club therefore inspected rooms at T. S. Terra Nova, the Croydon Sea Cadet HQ of which Stuart Pickford was Chairman and on 6th June 1973 held its first meeting at the new venue. To say it was Spartan would be an understatement but the benefit was that we were the only group in the building.
Alan Richards FRPS (joined 30th April 1956) took over the Presidency at the AGM on 30th May 1973 and Stuart Pickford was elected back onto Council. The new President sought to bring Croydon back into competitive photography, not to rejoin the South London Federation but to join the Surrey Photographic Federation. Croydon is, however, on the north eastern edge of the county and members soon found it too onerous to make the evening journey 35-40 miles to the south western part for a competition, and membership of the Surrey Photo Federation ceased in 1978.
The Council meeting of 24th October 1973 was the first (and only) one held in open session in front of the membership who were invited to be present and discover how Council works and what it does for membership. The business took the usual two hours plus to conduct and the ordinary members were bored to death as they had not the background knowledge necessary to understand why certain decisions were taken. The process of democracy was not repeated but thereafter Minutes were displayed on the Club's notice board for members to read. Later this practice ceased; so much for members' interest.
The Club closed the Building Fund as the steep rise in land/property values made it impossible for it to anticipate owning premises in the reasonably foreseeable future. This fund had been started with the donation of £250 by John F. Keane in 1959 and when closed stood at approximately £450. The money became written into the Club assets.
Christmas dinner at the King's Arms in Katharine Street at a cost of £3 attracted only 28 persons and was not considered worth holding again with such poor support. This attitude was to signify the progressive collapse of the Club into near extinction and an illustration of the malaise amongst membership (total of 86) was the appointment at the AGM in May 1974 of the Club Secretary who only joined two months previously. When one reflects that Secretaries usually had an "apprenticeship" on Council of five years then when appointed held the post for tens of years, the appointment of Mr Iain Polley was meteoric and just too much for the newcomer, who resigned after 12 months where after the Club had a new Secretary every 12 months till 1978 when Stuart Pickford took over for three years, after which the Secretarial post reverted to a 12-months tenure reflecting lack of continuity. To meet increased expenditure the subscription was raised to £4 per annum.