by Mike Dales ARPS

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The History of the Club

Early in 1950, Band-Corporal Peter Stroud of 3rd The Kings' Hussars in Germany received a request (which amounted to an order) from his Commanding Officer to design a photographic darkroom and organise a regimental camera club. This was done and, at the first meeting, Peter was elected Chairman, a position which he held until leaving the Army in November 1952. The 3rd Hussars Camera Club was very successful, its members gaining many awards in Open competitions throughout B.A.O.R.

Whilst on leave in the summer of 1952, Peter attended the first Arts and Crafts Exhibition organised by the newly-formed Carshalton Arts Council held at The Grove in Carshalton. There were a few photographs on display, mainly of postcard size, and not of the standard which had been reached inGermany. He enquired about local camera clubs and was surprised to find that none existed in either Carshalton or Wallington, so discussed the matter with a family friend, James L. Bacon A.I.B.P., Vice-President of the Institute of British Photographers, and enlisted his assistance in setting up what became Carshalton Camera Club.

Early in November 1952, they contacted Kodak and Ilford Ltd., plus local photographic retailers and submitted details to local papers, the Amateur Photographer magazine and the British Journal of Photography. The first meeting was held at the Fox and Hounds in Carshalton High Street. Those who attended included Henry Clay, his wife, and George Rowbottom (all from Mitcham Camera Club), John Orchard and Reg Wilshier A.R.P.S. (from Sutton Camera Club), and Barbara Smith and Peter Woolerton. Jimmy Bacon chaired the meeting.

At this inaugural meeting, Henry Clay was elected Chairman, a position which he was to hold for many years. Peter Stroud was Hon. Secretary and Peter Woolerton was Hon. Treasurer. Bruce Nightingale from Putney was introduced in the following week, and he subsequently held all the offices in the club at various times. Later, Jimmy Bacon and Reg. Wilshier were elected Vice-Presidents although, sadly, both died within a few years. After several years, John Orchard also occupied the post of Chairman.

Carshalton Camera Club moved three or four times during those early years until finding a permanent home at the hall of the New Presbyterian church at the junction of Woodcote Road and Stafford Road in Wallington. This was an ideal venue until the club was forced to move once again through re-development of the site and economic circumstances, this time to the Elm Grove Centre in Butter Hill, on the borders of Carshalton and Wallington. In 2007 we moved again, this time to the hall at Carshalton Methodist Church.

The club celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 2012, an achievement of which the members are justly proud. We remain what we always have been - a group of friendly and enthusiastic photographers creating a distinctive atmosphere with the knack of producing interesting and individual photographs which do not necessarily conform to any prevailing fads or fashions.

Carshalton Camera Club is a member of the Surrey Photographic Association and, through them, affiliated to The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. We are also a member of the Federation of South London Photographic Societies.

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