Club History

History of the Club

Originally Peter Smith, his brother Ralph Smith, Stephen Potter, John Grant and Joe Vowles were members of the Co-operative camera club, when they were told that the Madeley Centre in Normanton had just opened and had a purpose built darkroom, So the Madeley Photographic Workshop was set up there in 1975 under the auspices of a city educational enterprise.
Photographic courses were organised in the evenings, successfully introducing many students to film based photography. Instruction and participation was provided in basic techniques, presentation, dark room work, studio lighting and the history of photography. These very successful courses generated an enthusiastic band of photographers and the limitations of meeting within an educational establishment began to tell. Meetings and courses were limited to term times and had to finish at 9.30pm, resulting in the local pub becoming an unofficial, but attractive venue.

Fortunately, the club was able to obtain a new home in the premises of the hospitable Derby Rowing Club, where meetings could be held every week in comfortable surroundings, with bar facilities.

In this new location, the club was able to expand its activities and to continue its original aims of introducing photography to a wider group of interested people. Over the subsequent 25 years, the club organised over 500 lectures, more than 200 photographic competitions, exhibited at Derby Art Gallery and the Q Gallery, took part in countless inter-club competitions, devised and presented audio-visual performances, organised outings and weekend photography breaks, and took on an active part in the internationally supported Derby Format photography festival.

The club benefited from generous support by the Lotteries Commission. This allowed expansion by funding new equipment, software, books and services, helping to further the aims of bringing the appreciation and execution of photography to an even wider audience.

The club's activities created a response in recruiting many new members and the long, harmonious relationship with the Derby Rowing Club came to an end when expansion of the membership dictated a change. The club was fortunate in being able to move to larger accommodation at the Grange in Littleover, Derby in July 2009 where an equally comfortable and welcoming ambience was found. During the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020, face to face meetings were not possible. However, we embraced Zoom which allowed our weekly meetings to continue virtually, this opened up new opportunities allowing us to book speakers from further afield, who due to travel costs would normally have been beyond our budget. The club moved to a new venue Littleover Social Club in September 2021, where face to face meetings resumed.

Due to circumstances outside of our control the club was forced to find a new venue. From September 2023 the club moved to the Strutts Centre in Belper.

The club looks forward to another period of development and the continuation of its aim to provide experience, learning and socialising in its hallmark friendly atmosphere.