On the 9th July 1958 a meeting was held in the Stowupland Church Hall to discuss the possibilities of forming a photographic club (from former night school members) and to be named Stowmarket and District Photographic Society. A Committee was formed consisting of:

Chairman: Dr Haydon
Secretary/Treasurer: Roy Fidler
Committee Members: Ron Alexander
  Derek Hazelwood
  Ron Chisnall


On the 17th September 1960 the Club held its first exhibition in the Corn Hall (now The John Peel Centre), Stowmarket displaying 165 prints.The first meeting of the new club took place in Stowupland Church Hall on Wednesday 23rd. July 1958.

Meetings took place weekly throughout the winter months with several outdoor events being organised during the summer period.

I lost touch with the Society on moving to Colchester but can confirm that the Society was in existence during 1970. Sadly membership declined and the Society was disbanded.

Returning to Stowmarket in 1976 I joined a photographic evening class run by Frank Bryant and the following year the Stowmarket and District Camera Club was formed. Unfortunately I do not have the minutes of the inaugural meeting but remember Frank Bryant being elected as the Chairman with Ron Chisnall as Secretary and Bob Thompson as Treasurer.

Arrangements were made to hire the Red Cross Hall. Ron Chisnall used his links with the Colchester Camera Club to arrange for their Chairman to visit Stowmarket to explain how a Club should be organised – events, competitions, speakers and the advantages to be had from joining The East Anglian Federation of Photographic Clubs. A programme was put together and soon the membership was increasing.

We had no equipment and had to make use of a Norris projector and screen made available by the secretary. It was suggested the Club should seek a grant from the Town Council. From the monies provided the Club purchased a projector and screen. In our application we stated that the equipment would be used for the community – providing slide shows for local clubs including pensioners, W.Is. , the sick and infirm. Len Backhouse was our linkman. Geoff Chapman, Ron Chisnall, Dave Bannister and Len projected both their own and Club audio visual sequences. Len Backhouse was later made our first and only life member. The Club went from strength to strength; winning inter club battles with regularity.

What next? The decision to originate an East Anglian Competition (now known as ‘The East Anglian Shield.) Such was the interest that a limit of 21 Clubs had to be implemented. The early success can be attributed to John Thompson and resulted in the competition being recognised as a prestige event.

The Club is still active and has been blessed to have a mixture of very competent workers, photographically, administratively and financially.

What next? .

(Compiled from the memories of Ron Chisnall)


‘All Rounder’ Trophy

I've recently found out a little of the history of one of our trophies.

The ‘All Rounder’ trophy, won each year by the member with the highest aggregate points score from all categories, was presented to the club by Keith Gilbert in 1990. In fact, he was the first winner!

The trophy is in the form of an open book, with an old Kodak bellows camera mounted between the open pages. It was made by Martin Caruana, in 1990, who was then a club member, mostly out of wood which was found after the 1987 storm.

As if this was not story enough, the two sets of pages of the open book are, in fact, two skilfully made vertical drawers. Each drawer contains a book by Michael Langford; one has Basic Photography, the other Advanced Photography.

One of the things I like most about the trophy is that several of the past winners are still current members of the club.

(February 2014)