Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000

War !
Drastic cut back of meetings

Within hours of the 11 o'clock announcement that "This country is at war with Germany", air raid sirens sounded, confirming everyone's fears that a "blitzkrieg" was about to start. Such thoughts banished ideas of regular evening meetings and hastened the dispersal of the able bodied to fight for King and Country wherever ordered.

The President, Treasurer and Secretary took it upon themselves to cancel the fixture list which in any event would as likely as not have been impossible to carry out with lecturers being called away and blackout-restrictions making travel difficult. They informed all members of their action but stated that for those who could attend, informal gatherings would be at the Studio on a Saturday between 2pm and 4pm. The subscription held at 15/- since 1922 would be reduced to 5/- and members serving in the Forces would be exempt from payment. The Licensing Justices were informed of the change in the Club meeting date and times, and the members agreed that until further notice the management of the Club should be in the hands of the President, Secretary and Treasurer, who on 29th September 1939 gave "Spacky" six months' notice to terminate the Club agreement to lease the Studio.

Control of Photography Order No 1

With meetings curtailed, photography itself almost went into oblivion, following the issuing of the Control of Photography Order No 1, dated 10th September 1939, preventing the taking of almost every subject except nature. Even then, if a member of the public thought a building might be in the background of your flower picture you were likely to be arrested as a spy. Cameras were verboten in every sense until 7th February 1940 when the War Office made an announcement: "Photography as usual", by declaring: "Generally there is no ban upon the carriage of cameras in public places by persons other than enemy aliens who would require a permit for this purpose. It is not forbidden to photograph views or objects except those expressly prohibited items contained in the Orders".

Social gatherings only

During the winter of 1939 members were affected by restrictions and met each week mainly as a social gathering, and for the first time in Club history on a day other than a Wednesday. This informal arrangement continued to the AGM on 21st February when John Keane, S. E. Whitaker and A. E. Witty were all re-elected.

The Jubilee Dinner planned for 10th April 1940, was postponed to be held when "conditions were more favourable". It would be fair to say no-one anticipated that the "favourable" conditions would not happen for six years! Membership was the highest then recorded for the Club, 132, and the accounts showed a trading surplus of 16/2d.

The Phony War

By now the threat of air raids had subsided, the Dunkirk evacuation was three months into the future. The members considered resuming Wednesday evening meetings commencing at 7.30 and this was agreed especially when the Secretary stated that in anticipation he had lecturers provisionally fixed for the next four weeks.