Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Croydon Camera Club History: 1890-2000
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About the publication of this book

Whilst this Club History was in its final stage of research, a disagreement arose between the Author and the Club, which could be justly characterised as 'Trouble at mill'.

The Club Council required to read and approve the Manuscript before giving authority for publication, whilst Stuart Pickford, already finding the task of preparing this Booklet, was taking more time from his business than he could afford, was struggling to complete the Manuscript to meet an anticipated printing deadline, though the Council refused to state what this was until it had approved the Manuscript. This vicious circle was only broken by the Council's inability to fund the publication.

At a Centenary Committee Meeting on 31 October 1989, two members were deputed to consult with the Trustees on selling Club assets to pay for publication. If the booklet was to be issued by 26 February 1990, the manuscript would be needed to be with a Printer by end of November 1989. By Mid November the Council decided a print run of 500 copies with 60 pictures and 12,000 words.

By 7 December 1989, Council agreed 15,000 words and a cost of £2400, with an order to be placed once the Manuscript had been edited by the President and the Secretary. It was also agreed not to sell any Club assets but to raise finance of about £1500 by the sale of Debentures. Harry Cundell was deputed to send out an Appeals letter and a draft was circulated on 20 December 1989. The Council decided that an Appeal just before Christmas would have little response; after Christmas, Council decided it was then too late. By mid-January 1990 Council further decided to abandon production and limit the Booklet to an 'in house' publication with a limited run of 100 copies with pictures being photocopies.

The Author and the Club now clashed violently. There was disillusion that all the historical research you have just read would be limited to 100 copies and presented as a cheap reproduction; the Club viewed their failure to raise finance was due entirely to the manuscript being incomplete and unedited.

A deep division now opened, with accusations of betrayal and incompetence flying between the two parties. The Council received the final manuscript with no time left to exercise its editorial desires and reluctantly accepted publication. The original photographs to be used had been photocopied and considered satisfactory. Unfortunately it was the photocopies that were themselves photocopied to illustrate this History resulting in poor quality reproductions in a photographic paper. Shortage of time limited the 'in house' production and only 60 copies were actually produced.

Council had now read the entire Manuscript and considered the History of the last 10 years were incomplete: biased; and denigrated the efforts of many Club Members. They showed their displeasure by taking no further interest in promoting the sale of the Club History and it was left to the Author to finally sell 48 copies. No copies were available for sale at the Club Centenary Dinner and no reference was made to the History having been written.

At a Council Meeting on 22 March 1990, the Club History was discussed and a resolution passed 'The Council disassociates itself with the views expressed in the book' The Secretary and President were deputed to inform the author of Councils displeasure at the damage the book had done to the reputation of the Club and the hurt to the members.

In correspondence Council stated they had received 'Many adverse comments' and felt it was 'high time that I apologised to the Club for all the upset caused'. The Author declined, and no words of comfort came for the time and effort in researching this History. The rift deepened with the publication of the Council's own version of the last 10 years of Club History, which made no reference to the authors work.

Such a pity that the 100 years Celebration should have descended into acrimony; and there was no hint of reconciliation when Council on 21 June 1990 informed the author that as they had not authorized him to recover the bust of John Keane, they would not pay the purchase cost of £65.00. They confirmed in August 'that it was not in the best interests of the Club or its current members' to spend £65 on the bust 'which is now yours to keep'.

The Trustees had to be consulted about this change of ownership and Harold Stillwell was forthright in his condemnation expressing his disgust that the Club, which had so recently made much pomp and publicity out of its Centenary, could almost immediately deny any sense of History. He considered it impudent of present members, with little collective service to attempt to reject this memento of its longest serving President. only a Council with complete disregard of everything which two Hon Life Members had striven for, could manage to upset both at the same time. Harold severed all his connections with the Club, which eventually paid for the bust and retained ownership.

After an unhappy 12 months, the author resumed his attendance at the Club, the members of which by 1991 had seemingly forgotten that the Centenary ever existed - and the rest, as they say is for the History Books!!

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