Croydon Camera Club
Croydon Camera Club

Club Members of Note

'Harry Gordon Dorrett, Also Taking Part', by Ralph Rimmer
The Early Years

On April 1st, 1899, Paul Martin and Harry Gordon Dorrett became partners in a photographic business venture. The life and works of one partner, Paul Martin , have been thoroughly investigated and documented (1). Of the other partner, Harry Gordon Dorrett, little was known (1 p. 63 ).

Paul Martin was born in France in 1864 and educated there and also in England. His early profession was as an engraver and he enjoyed photographic outings with his fellow ' woodpeckers'. He developed an interest in the use of photographs as the basis of etching which proved of benefit to his employers. His other photography was continued mainly during his holidays until he won acclaim for his depiction of characters of the London streets by means of candid 'snapshots' taken with a modified Facile camera disguised as a brown paper parcel. He built on this success with innovative night pictures which won the Gold Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in 1896. Martin was approached by George Davison, Managing Director of Kodak Europe , to join the company in 1898. The approach was rejected by Martin because he was unsure of Kodak's future and he had also almost completed preparations to join Dorrett,a fellow member of the West Surrey Photographic Society. (1;2;3)

Harry Gordon Dorrett was born on June 19th, 1870, to Anthony Dorrett, an auctioneer, and his wife Sarah (nee Buckham), at 3, Thurlow Place, Wandsworth Road, Clapham. Nothing has been recorded of his early years and youth except that he had been apprenticed to one of the leading south coast photographers (3 p. 18) and that he was regarded as one of the very best technical photographers and lantern slide makers in London (4). Dorrett was listed in Kelly's Wandsworth Directories (1896; 1897; 1898) as a photographer with a studio at 118, St.John's Hill, Clapham Junction. The premises were shared with Gilder & Mason, Royal Sovereign Cycle Manufacturing Company.