Edmonton Camera Club started life following an advert appearing in The Tottenham & Edmonton Weekly Herald on 16th February 1945, it read:
‘Photography – Will amateur photographers (either sex) interested in the formation of a camera club in the Edmonton district, please communicate with Wilfred Barber ARPS, Town Road, Lower Edmonton’
As a result of the advert, twelve people contacted Mr Barber and an inaugural meeting was arranged for 5th March 1945. The Club’s first meeting place was a classroom in Brettenham Road School at a cost of 5s 9d (29p) per night. It was lit by gas burners and the only electricity available was outside the room, reportedly in a very draughty corridor!
The first President was Mr Basil Bailey and membership to the club was limited to fifty people. Then, as now, club met on Monday evenings. There was an annual subscription of 10s 6d (52½ p) with an entrance fee per night of 2s 6d (12½p).
March 6th 1946 saw the club move to a new venue at the Higher Grade School on the corner of Wilbury Way and Bull Lane, Edmonton, London N18. The facilities at the school were much improved although meetings took place at one time in the chemistry laboratory. At that time slides were 2 ins square and all work was monochrome.
However, soon afterwards on 15th April 1946, the club was almost wound up at a meeting, due to lack of internal support, but luckily the motion to do so was defeated.
On 17th September 1947, Edmonton Camera Club became affiliated to The Royal Photographic Society, which enabled the club to use the services of judges and lecturers attached to the Panel of the Central Association of Photographic Societies. The club had 25 members when affiliation was granted.
Mr Smeeton held the post of Treasurer for many years and donated the “Smeeton Cup” in 1949. The trophy remains one that is still presented, for outstanding progress, to this day.
In April 1950, Mr Bailey resigned as President due to business commitments. He was complemented on his presidency, which was described as having been “full of enthusiasm”. The Honorary Secretary, Mr G. Smith, took over. Around this time, membership increased to between 50 and 60 and the syllabus (programme) was compiled by the Assistant Secretary. The first edition of the club journal appeared too, recording the activities of the club and individual members.
The first fancy dress social event was held on 24th November 1951 – photographic evidence of this is still in existence!
The Club entered 20 prints in the North London Salon of Pictorial Photography on show between 8 and 15 November 1952. There was an exhibition in the Regal Cinema, which was opened by the Mayor of Edmonton. He later sent a letter to the club stating that he and the Mayoress had been impressed by what they had seen. The Regal went on to become a regular venue for the Club to exhibit in.
Edmonton Camera Club was mentioned in the local newspaper on 20th March 1953, for an outstanding display of photographs and slides at the Edmonton Arts Council Day.
In June 1953, the club produced a Coronation issue of the Journal, which included poems and information about the first Elizabethan age.
In the late 1950’s, the club moved headquarters to Salisbury House, Bury Street West, using the ground floor lecture room for meetings.
At the 1960 AGM, it was noted that the Club’s coffers were very low. It was proposed that subscriptions be increased from 2s 6d (12½ p) to 5s 0d (25p) – the proposal was rejected!
The 15th Annual Exhibition was held in Edmonton Town Hall, with the judge concluding: “The colour section lacked artistry” Then, as now, you can’t please all the people all the time!
The 1961 AGM was asked that a tea break be built into club evenings. A tea break was granted!
During the early 60’s, the club became affiliated to the Borough of Edmonton Arts Council.
At a committee meeting around this time, it was suggested that the club held a weekly raffle for an item of photographic equipment, which was to be donated by a member of the committee.
In June 1966, following the reorganisation of local government in London, the club became affiliated to the new London Borough of Enfield Arts Council.
Over the years various complaints have been made periodically about the state of the club projector and the damage so nearly caused to the slides by it. The Arts Council helped out in the 1970’s by purchasing a new one for the club.
The club Journal/Magazine became A4 size in July 1975 having previously been A5. It was in this year that it was suggested that outings could include, a night trip along the Embankment, around the West End, a car rally, photos of Pub signs. However, the record is not clear whether any photos actual got taken on this night!
In 1978, the Wheatsheaf Hall, Enfield was used for the Annual Presentation and Dinner Evening, which catered for 60 people. The outing was to Battle and Hastings this year and was noted for its usual Camera Club weather – very wet again!
1979 saw the origin of our link with the Gibraltar Photographic Society. A slide battle was organised with Edmonton’s entries being sent to Gibraltar through the post and being judged against their slides. The return match involved the same images being sent over and judged in Edmonton.
Gibraltar Photographic Society’s Chairman, Mr Arthur Harper, and Secretary Mr Leslie Linares came to the UK on 23rd July 1979. They presented a commemorative plate to Edmonton’s President, at the time, Derek Friggens. We in turn presented them with a commemorative shield.
The Gibraltar Plate is still in use today. It is presented to the member who receives the highest number of public votes for a print in our exhibition.
On 17th October 1980, the Presentation Dinner was held in the Mandeville Suite at the Royal Chase Hotel, Enfield. The room cost £9 to hire at that time!
The 80’s saw the organising of numerous social events and outings, which despite inclement weather at times, were enjoyed by all. In 1982, an outing was booked to Bath, where it rained!
It was noted that in 1982 membership had grown to 73, including 26 newcomers. The following year this had grown to 82 members, the highest number ever. The enthusiasm of some of the members was said to be contagious and there was great friendly rivalry in the competitions. The President, at the time, noted if ever the club was to do well in external competitions, this was it.
The darkroom was prepared for use at Salisbury House it was open for members to use Tuesdays to Fridays 7.30pm-10pm at a charge of 50p.
Edmonton Camera Club still met at Salisbury House in the 90’s, but had to move out on 28th October ‘91 for a period whilst renovations were carried out to the building. Meetings took place in the Keats Room, at Millfield House Arts Centre, as a temporary measure and committee meetings were held at Ridge Library. A reopening event of Salisbury House took place with the club moving back in September 1992.
The club celebrated its 50th Anniversary in March 1995 with a special Anniversary Lecture by the renowned landscape photographer, Charlie Waite. The event was held at Millfield Theatre and was very successful. Funds were raised for the event by holding auctions, car boot sales, quiz evenings, coffee mornings, and sales of tee and sweat shirts. The club had 52 members at this time.
Coach outings and weekends away, formed a regular part of club life and a questionnaire was given to members, to ascertain which venues were most popular for future trips.
1st April 1999 saw the closure of Salisbury House and the Club had to find a new location in which to meet. Millfield House was decided upon and relocation followed. The Keats Room, first used temporarily in ‘91/’92 became our regular meeting place with a larger room being used when other clubs visit for battles. Another popular feature of Millfield House at that time was that it had a bar!
2000 – Across the Millenium
The last evening of the 20th century was A Christmas Social with a fun quiz and nibbles.
The 1999/2000 club programme, which crossed the millennium, began with a slide and holiday print discussion evening. There then followed a comprehensive mixture of competitions, talks and demonstrations that has become the hallmark of the Club.
2005 saw the Club celebrating its 60th Anniversary. One special event of the year was a joint evening with Loughton Camera Club, who were also celebrating their 60th year. Another highlight of the year was a visit by the celebrated wildlife photographer Andy Rouse. This event took place in conjunction with the Millfield Arts Centre and took place in Millfield Theatre. We were very grateful to Nick Mowat, General Manager and his team for all their support in our Anniversary celebrations.
We were delighted when in March 2009, in conjunction with Millfield Theatre; we were able to host a second ‘Evening with Andy Rouse’ event.
Andy is a great presenter, joking with the audience and mimicking the behaviours of the animals he metaphorically ‘shoots’. The 200 plus audience of naturalists and photographers were entranced by his images, including some taken in South Georgia as he leaned out of a Royal Naval helicopter at 9,000 feet over a glacier!
The Club had to spend its 2010 / 2011 season in alternative accommodation as Millfield House was undergoing a total refurbishment. Barbara Clark, our President at the time, scoured local venues and secured a place for us at the Angel Community Centre, N18. We were made very welcome but look forward to returning ‘home’ to Millfield House.
To coincide with the earlier refurbishment of the Millfield Theatre the Club were invited to take images of the buildings at the Centre and the developments going on. As a result of the invitation the ‘Images of Millfield’ competition ensued. We were extremely grateful for the sponsorship afforded us by Paul Everett and the management of Millfield Arts Centre, which meant that category winners won cash prizes and the overall winner picked up a cheque for £500!
Our ongoing relationship with Millfield also resulted in two of our members, Nick Clark and Alan Bullock, presenting workshops on Digital Photography at the Centre.
Through the decade we hosted exhibitions of our work at Forty Hall, Enfield and at the new Dugdale Centre, Enfield. Our members also submitted work for the East Anglian Federation Exhibition, with several acceptances coming our way.
2010 also saw our last transparency competition taking place. We had been moving towards digital projected image competitions. It was decided that from the 2010 / 2011 season onwards that DPI and prints would be the competition mediums.
Competitions continue to be popular and theme can yield some surprising images – none more so than the entries on the theme of ‘self portrait’.
In 2015 the Club celebrated its 70th Anniversary. A special Anniversary Exhibition was held at Forty Hall and a special lecture was presented at Millfield Theatre. The speaker on the night was the eminent Martin Parr. Martin spoke of what attracts him to images and of his work.