Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000

Founding President: Hector MacLean, 1903-4

Founding President Hector MacLean ousted

At the beginning of the Winter Session on 7th October 1903 in the course of an address to members the President claimed passepartout in use for framing was "tasteless" and he objected to the never-ending "boiled Bromides" (Bromoil). This was a reference to the method of producing prints in permanent oil pigments on a photographic base and perfected by C. Welborne Piper, a respected Club member. The process was vigorously defended however by other members. C. E. K. Mees was asked his opinion and said he had no doubt of the permanency of Bromoil prints but W. H. Smith, director of Platinotype Company pointedly reminded the speaker that his age was limited (Mees was then 21 and had just been awarded a B.Sc) and time alone formed the only test. Time has in fact proved that the Bromoil print does last and the process is still with us today.

A presentation was made of a handsome tea service to S. H. Wratten on the occasion of his recent marriage.

At the AGM in 1904 in the middle of January a contested election for President took place (possibly the first one). Hector MacLean received eight votes more than S. H. Wratten and so was re-elected. The meeting was immediately adjourned to consider other matters further and when resumed on 27th January, there was, to say the least, very plain speaking with the principal target the President himself. A resolution was then carried to the effect that "no member should in future hold the office of President for more than two consecutive years".

So there we are. The man who founded the Club 14 years earlier had been its President ever since, and seen its membership rise to over 100, was now thought to be too autocratic as to no longer reflect the aspirations of the members, who had put up an alternative to his presidency; and when defeated, had won a vote to make his tenure of office limited at most to two more years instead of being "perpetual".

President Hector MacLean, of Sutton C. C.

Before the lecturer was introduced at the next meeting on 3rd February, Hector MacLean rose and made a brisk counter attack on his opponents and announced his intention of resigning the presidency forthwith. He also laid down certain alternative and stringent conditions which would have to be carried into effect before he would entertain any suggestion of resuming presidential duties. He then left the meeting and never returned but supported Sutton Camera Club where he became President in 1906 until his death on 4th April, 1909, aged 56. Thus began the first of the links with Sutton CC, carried through the ensuing years by Edwin Appleton, R. Wiltshier and now Raymond Duthoit.

E.A. Salt as Vice Chairman paid tribute to Mr MacLean and regretted the circumstances of the resignation and disassociated himself with the conditions laid down as "most ill-advised". He urged members to put their differences behind them and pull together for the sake of the Club.

President S. H. Wratten

Other speakers followed in the same line and it became evident that the next President would have no lack of energetic and willing helpers. S. H. Wratten then took over the presidency by popular acclaim a few weeks later.

S. H. Wratten was the son of F.C.L. Wratten of Wratten and Wainright and at the same time was the business manager which position was to prove particularly useful to Kenneth Mees in a few years time.