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Haddington Camera Club

Clockwise from back left: Sandy Clyne, Adam Brown, Eric Groome, Matt Carlaw. January 1954, 18 Market Street before refurbishment.

There is some uncertainty about the exact date of the first official meeting of Haddington Camera Club but it was probably held in Haddington Town House in March 1952 only a month after the death of King George VI. An early photograph shows just nine members. The fifties were a time of rapid advance in photographic technology; at the same time wartime restrictions in both equipment and stock were lifted and military surplus cameras, paper, film and chemicals were suddenly available on the market (and reputedly through ‘unofficial’ channels as well). Photography boomed and so did the club’s membership.

(L to R) Standing: Jimmy Buglass, John Cran, Alistair Angus, William Hepburn, Harvey Gardiner. Kneeling: George Johnson and James Dow. Model: Elisabeth Anderton.

From the sparse records that survive the club appears to have met fortnightly in the buffet room of the Town House but by October 1953 the meetings were being held weekly in the special subjects room or science laboratory in the old Knox Academy. Around the end of 1953 premises were offered to the club in a building behind Tait’s the butchers at 18 Market Street where the Club remained for 21 years. In 1979 the club moved again to the Lamp of Lothian buildings at Poldrate and initially met on the first floor of the Mill but in about 2001 moved to the third floor of the Granary, where it continues to meet.

The syllabus of the club in the early years was much the same as it is now with illustrated lectures, practical sessions, competitions and outings.  A prominent feature early on was the making of audio-visual presentations where innovative equipment was conceived and built by club members. Ambitious outings to local sites, the Lake District, potholing and even skiing were undertaken.  Currently the club has ten cups for internal competitions which were a part of the syllabus from the beginning.

(L to R): Gordon Andrews, Norm Dunk, Helena Berney, Fiona Govan, Lesley Clarke. Exhibition in Haddington Town House c. 2006.

The founder members must find the rapid advance of the technology of photography bewildering, but nevertheless their enthusiasm and commitment to producing good photographic images continues undiminished amongst the current members of Haddington Camera Club as it embarks on the next 60 years. To mark the anniversary Haddington’s new John Gray Centre hosted the Club’s Exhibition: Haddington Camera Club – The First Sixty Years.

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