The following history of the club was researched and written by club member Robert Gilmour.
The first reference to a camera club in this area was when a notice appeared in the Dunoon Observer & Argyllshire Standard on the 5th. March 1949 asking anyone interested in the formation of a camera club to contact Mr. D Scrimgeour of the Cowal Youth Panel. There must have been a good response for a meeting was called for 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 24th March to be held in the Toc-H rooms in Milton House, the home of Mrs. MacArthur-Moir. At this meeting an interim committee was appointed to draft a Constitution and Rules.
Following this meeting a General Meeting was called and took place on the 11th. of April. Those who wished to attend were asked to bring along prints of photographs which they had taken.
The following week an article appeared in the local paper reporting on this meeting.
“The newly formed Cowal Camera Club held their first General Meeting on Monday evening when over 30 ladies and gentlemen attended. The Constitution and Rules drafted by the interim committee were considered and finally adopted. The following Office Bearers were elected:
President: Mr: W. Sanderson
Vice President: Mr. A. Marr
Hon Secretary: Mr. D. Scrimgeour
Hon. Treasurer: Mr. J Linn
The Club will meet on the first and third Mondays and the second and fourth Thursdays in each month excluding May, June, July and August. During these months there will be outings to places of photographic interest.
Mr. D Scrimgeour and Mr. A.G.Brown were appointed delegates to the Scottish Photographic Federation.”
Former clubroom highlighted
The writer joined the club in September 1956 by which time premises had been obtained in Tom-A-Mhoid Road. The basement room had a sloping floor which was helpful during demonstrations and lectures. Seats had been obtained from the Picture House, which had recently closed. These seats were ideal for the sloping floor. A darkroom was formed and equipped at the rear of the room and there was a shared outside toilet. By this time the club met on Mondays only. These premises served the club until 1973 by which time the Cine Section had been formed. The premises were now too small for the numbers attending.
Around then five cottages in Castle Street were scheduled for demolition by the Town Council with a view to the area becoming a car park. Mrs. M. Paterson, a club member, reported this to the
Committee. She suggested that the club meet with the Council and ask to lease the building with a view to renovation and conversion to Club Rooms.
Loans and Grants were raised and the members set to work to form the Club Rooms. Work by these members was carried over from 1972 until the start of the 1973 season when the new Club Rooms were opened by Neil McCormack, the Argyll County M.P.
By now the Club met twice weekly. Monday was the Still Section night and Thursday was the Cine
Section night. Some members attended both sections. With the interest in cine work having waned, Thursday night was used as a Practical Night. Today the work of the club is mostly digital, either using digital cameras or scanning from film. (Practical night is now a Wednesday)
The club has hosted the Scottish International Salon twice and been used by the BBC for outside
broadcasts. The darkroom (re-purposed now) had also been used by press photographers covering news items for national newspapers.
Robert W Gilmour
Artist impression of cottages c1900's