Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000

No Local Support?

The Secretary suggested on 17th February 1956 that Eric Hoskins be invited to Croydon for a fee of 10 guineas and by hiring a hall and making a public show this would result in a profit for Club funds. Members rejected the idea as being "an extremely risky undertaking and that Croydon was a bad area in which to obtain support from the public for lectures etc."

S. G. Pickford

On 11th April 1956, S. G. Pickford was elected a member but as new members were not made welcome, he subsequently ceased to attend. However, Club rules then required you to tender your resignation or otherwise remain a member. He received a demand one year later and became a corresponding member in 1958. He gave it another try, was received like a long lost brother and became President in 1965-66 and again in 1981-82. Whereas his contemporary Harold Stillwell served the Club exclusively, Stuart Pickford carried Croydon's name into the Central Association, first as a delegate in 1968 which position he still holds; became the second Croydon President of the CA in 1976-78 (the first was John Keane) and has been CA Secretary since 1979. He was also to be a delegate to the SLF and the Photographic Alliance.

Long before these administrative duties were taken up, Stuart Pickford was a consistent supporter of Club Exhibitions and competitions. But in electing him, his potential was then unknown.

John Keane Club History Presentation

Dr Mees reported on 30th April receipt of the John Keane Club History which he had annotated and copied; one to keep; one to George Eastman House; and eight or ten would be sent back to the Club who then in 1956 presented a copy to the Mayor of Croydon; one to the RPS; one to John Keane, and one to the British Museum.

Top Management Changes

At the AGM on 25th May 1956 all the top management changed. B. F. Bullock became President, J. Hutchinson Secretary and M. Marchant, Treasurer. Under the guidance of Maurice Marchant, a Company Accountant, the finances of the Club were to become very much more healthy with surpluses over the five years to 1961 collectively of over £400. Membership stood at 101. A bank account was opened with the Midland Bank, North End, Croydon -the first the Club had had.

Strong pressure was applied to Aubrey Williams to reconsider his resignation as Secretary but in a letter to the Club on 17th July 1956, he wrote: "I cannot reconcile myself to voluntary membership of an organisation, the activities of which are dominated by people for whom I can have no respect". He was obviously at odds with the "Old Guard" and though all the top management had changed, the rift was so deep that he and his wife never returned.

Vociferous Print Competitions

In the month's print competitions it was agreed to have a Beginners' section where the award of a label would result in automatic transfer to the "Preliminary" section. With a change in management the new Secretary did not state the address of newly elected members: nor the weekly events as this activity is vaguely included in the Club Bulletin issued at about three-monthly intervals. The Editor until 1967 was Miss Joyce Fitt BA, except for a short period 1963-65 when the Editor was Stuart Pickford. The Bulletin became the voice of the dissident as well as the organ for dissemination of Council information. The issue in July 1956 refers to the back row of the Club being very vociferous - a regrettable tendency which more than once brought a reprimand from the senior members in the front row, whose appreciation of the speaker was being disturbed by the background chat.

The Annual Dinner cost the President 35/3d for wine for the official visitors. The Club authorised him to be reimbursed half the cost!

...and Vociferous Exhibition Comments

At the start of the Winter Session the lantern slide group was reported to be "in a state of embryonic non-existence" and a "Colour Group" was proposed instead. In the March 1957 Bulletin Stuart Pickford inaugurated a Correspondence Column by declaring the Annual Exhibition as "disgraceful" with only 25% of the membership submitting work, of which half was from Council members, and only three exhibitors in the Color Slide Section. For a member of less than one year to be so outspoken it was little wonder he was made less than welcome at meetings.