Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000

Years 1958-1959
Cups! Cups! Cups!

At a meeting on 20th March 1958, the Club was pleased to have presented by Mrs Kit Allard an award for the runner up to the Dorrett Cup Competition known as "The Allard Tankard".

The AGM on 28th May 1958 returned the President, Secretary and Treasurer for another year notwithstanding the two year Rule in the case of the President. It was agreed the Club Exhibition for 1958-59 would be held at the Davis Theatre.

There were by now several well established "Groups" meeting outside regular club meeting dates. "Beginners", "Portrait" and "Colour" groups all adding to the strength of the Club; though membership is not recorded.

To the small collection of cups was now donated another by member Peter Steele who joined on 13th February 1952 and was the Club Rummage Sale Auctioneer for many years. The purpose of the Cup was for the Club to decide.

John Keane dies, aged 92

John Keane died on 25th October 1958 in Cambridge in his 92nd year. Born 1866 John Keane joined the Club in 1906 and became President in 1916 and with the exception of the years 1918 and 1931-32 he remained President until 1943 - a remarkable span of 37 years. During that time he was President of the Photographic Convention of the UK in 1936 and again in 1948. He was also President of the Central Association 1938-42 and there is no doubt that under his continued presidency the Club was founded on a solid rock. The club enquired if they could have a memento to remind them of his genius and subsequently on 11th April 1959 John Keane's son presented the Club with £250 and a remarkable bust as a reminder of the "father" of the Club.

Loads of money

That the Club was soon to forget his genius will be revealed later in a sorry saga. The Treasurer reported that cash in hand amounted to £158 (£36 in 1956) and the first of the investments in stocks and shares was authorised. The question of trustees to hold the investments was resolved on 19th February 1959 with the appointment of M. J. Marchant, S. Money and T. Samson, the latter still remains a Club Trustee. M. J. Marchant was replaced by S. E. Whitaker on 9th April, it being decided no Council member should also be a Trustee.

With a healthy bank balance and continuing income from increasing membership the matter of alternative premises or possible purchase of our own was considered. A capital sum of at least £2,000 would be necessary (the cost of a new semi-detached house was then about £2,500).

Hot coffee at last

By April there was news of a camera club being formed at Selsdon and the Secretary was instructed to write and enquire their "attitude towards Croydon". Perhaps as if to ward off possible poaching of members it was decided to improve the club image by having a Dark Room; a Welcoming Committee for new members and the ability to make coffee! So after almost 50 years of only having cold drinks, beers and spirits available we were to advance into the 20th century and £6 was allocated for "coffee making implements"; but to provide coffee you must have coffee makers, and with volunteers in short supply by August 1962 coffee making ceased.

The Welcoming Committee was established; S. G. Pickford was now happy at the Club and at the AGM on 27th April 1959 he was appointed Syllabus Secretary and joined the Council where he remained an officer for 27 years until 1985. Harold Stillwell became Secretary and Archivist.

The first pronouncement of the new President (J. S. Birchell) was to recommend the build up of the club's financial position with a view to obtaining its own premises. "Spacky" said he had heard the new premises argument for over 20 years and the Club was still at The Studio. However, with membership at 132, we were close to bursting at the seams.


Perhaps some of the overcrowding was indirectly responsible for the recent formation of three other photographic clubs in the district. Concern was voiced at the Council meeting on 13th August but it was decided not to offer the new clubs any assistance but to invite them to visit Croydon on special occasions. New Addington, Selsdon and Spring Park Camera Club would have been surprised if they had known of Croydon's attitude. The Corporation's invitation to hold the Annual Exhibition as part of the Millenary Celebrations was accepted, for which a grant of £50 was subsequently promised. However by February 1960 it was known that the Corporation wanted £3-6-0 rent for the hall in which to hold our Annual Exhibition which was immediately cancelled as being too costly. A "House Exhibition" was held instead.

Dark Room Built

Through the initiative of the President, on 17th September 1959 a basement flat at no 97 Addiscombe Road had been examined and found suitable for conversion into a dark room. A three year lease at £l per week was agreed. During the next few months members laboured to transform the space into suitable accommodation. Labour was the operative word - particularly when it was found that some walls were of reinforced brickwork and built as blast walls during the war. S. G. Pickford was put in charge of the demolition as this was considered a suitable task for an architect! Progress slowed towards the end of the year due to lack of volunteers but the premises opened just before Christmas 1959 and were available to members at 2/6d per booking.

The Investment Sub-Committee (B. F. Bullock and M. J. Marchant) came unstuck and nearly cost the Club £75 by recommending on 17th September the purchase of shares in the State Building Society but a few days later (and luckily before the Club took action) the shares were suspended so the Club money was saved. The Secretary minuted that with the Woolwich Building Society offering no more than 2 3/4%, the 4 1/2% by the State Building Society was highly speculative, and the Sub-Committee were criticised for making the recommendation. However at the next meeting (19 Dec 1959) it was agreed to delete the above criticism to preserve everyone's integrity. But a near miss.

The Outstanding Mrs M. Marshall

Joining the Club on 22nd October 1959 was Mrs M. Marshall, who was to become the first lady Secretary of the Club 1961-63 and who was to carry the name of Croydon not only through the Central Association, and the RPS Council but on to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain to which she was elected Hon Secretary in 1981, a position held for eight years before being elected President in 1989, which position she currently holds. She holds this position as an Hon Member of CCC and as the representative of the RPS. She was awarded the ARPS in 1965 and for "outstanding" services to photographic societies became APAGB in 1988.

The Club investment programme remained in a state of shock after its near loss but the idea of building up funds remained and the AGM in 1960 agreed a subscription increase to £2, though the Hon Treasurer admitted the annual expenditure did not justify any increase!

Must boost colour work

Membership had now reached 160 but there was still a shortage of persons to do jobs: the Welcoming Committee was short of helpers; the Colour Group was only interested in projecting and viewing each others' slides; the Circulating Portfolio was not circulating; and the President complained that the quality of work in Monthly Competitions was poor.

To encourage colour work it was agreed that a Bronze medal be presented at the Exhibition for the Best Colour Slide of the Year.