UPMINSTER CAMERA CLUB HISTORY
Mr Frank Barwick was a founder member, who along with his business partner, had a successful photographic shop in St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, established before the end of the Second World War in 1944. (This shop is no longer running – but the business evolved into T& B Photographic – which survived and was still a family run business until very recently).
Mr Ken Rose ran the chemist shop in Station Road, Upminster, the shop is still a chemists – now Govani’s. Although Ken was not interested in photography his manager Peter was.
Peter’s interest together with that of Frank Bardwick “floated” the idea of forming a camera club “Upminster Camera Club” to promote business for their two shops.
The first meeting took place in 1955, in the chemist shop, utilising an upstairs room.
Early membership was surprisingly high with 20-30 members. Other larger local clubs were already up and running in Hornchurch and Romford and Frank Bardwick was already a member of both, which apparently was not unusual, and no doubt a nice captive clientele for his photographic business!
The East Anglian Federation of Photographic Societies, known as the EAF for short was already well established by 1955, the club must have joined early as meetings regularly featured Federation lecturers and judges, also competitions – all monochrome prints in those days and home processed by members.
The club eventually moved premises to the old Upminster Library (which is the Clockhouse, St Mary’s Lane) but the old library was suddenly condemned as unsafe for regular public use and the club had to find a meeting hall very quickly.
The club moved to the Social Hall in Hacton Lane. The next move was to the new Hornchurch Library when it was built, using the Meeting Room on the first floor, and was used for many years.
The current venue is at the Cranham Community Association.
Following the demise of the Ford Photographic Society, many of their members chose to continue their photography with Upminster, among them former EAF President Dennis Mickleburgh.
In the year 2000 members of the club produced, with the aid of a grant from the Lottery Fund, an album of local photographs showing Upminster and its immediate area and local activities. A copy of the final work was presented to Havering’s Mayor and accepted on behalf of the residents, and is now housed in the Council’s archives.