Club History

The club was formed on 3rd October 1946. It was a mild dry evening with a light westerly wind when “some score of keen photographers” met at the Odd Fellows Hall in Penzance for the inaugural meeting of The Penzance and District Photographic Society.

The first President was Mrs G Underwell, FRPS, from Mousehole, and the Chairman was Mr A E Gneagi, FRPS, from Newlyn. The annual subscription was set at a half guinea (10s 6d or 52½p).  It was decided in March 1948 that a drawing of Land’s End would be the symbol for the club and a block was obtained to use on stationery. The club met fortnightly during the winter months and in October 1947 moved to the Rechabite Hall in Penzance. In later years meetings were held at the Western Hotel, the Queen’s Hotel and now Humphry Davy School.

In the early years competitions were judged by members of the committee, with an annual competition judged by an external expert who was sent the prints to review. The members were classified for different sections of the competition into advanced workers and beginners; an intermediate classification was introduced in 1949.  

Early Club meetings often included talks by members who would demonstrate their home-made photographic equipment. In the years after the Second World War, rationing and shortages made travel very difficult, and even as late as 1948, invited members of Falmouth Club could not attend our annual dinner because of petrol shortages. During these early years Kodak Ltd and Ilford Ltd provided lantern slides and lectures which were then presented by a member of the club. 

In June 1950, Penlee House in Penzance held an exhibition of members' work, and at the same venue the following year, an open exhibition of British Photographic Art displayed 2 pictures each from 50 well-known British photographers alongside 84 pictures from local Camera Club members. This exhibition attracted over 2200 visitors. The Club archives contain a copy of the programme which includes an advertisement for the club, shown above. 

Throughout the Club's history, there have been annual dinners, and sometimes dinner dances, with outings in the summer months. A montage of images from outings is shown below. 

From the early days, cups and trophies donated by Club members and local businesses have been awarded to competition winners.

The "H M Moulson Cup" for print photographer of the year. Mr Moulson was one of the three inaugurators of the Club, and was the first Joint Hon Secretary, later becoming President for 1952-1953. Starting in December 1948, this was initially known as the Society’s Cup and was awarded for the best print of the year. Founder member Anthony Williams is the first name engraved in 1953.
The "Jack Jenkins Cup" for best slide photographer of the year. Jack joined the club in October 1949, was on the Committee in 1952 and President for 1954-1955. This trophy was initially for the best slide of the year, but is now awarded to Best Digital Photographer of the Year. 
The "Geoff Marshall Trophies" for best print and best slide at the judged-on-the-night competition. Geoff had a photographic shop in Causewayhead for many years. The competition is mentioned in the 1975-76 programme and trophies were donated in 1989. 
The "Club Theme Shield" for best entry of a subject decided by the Committee. This was originally for the Subject Competition Winner and is shown in the programme for 1983-84. 
Photo Kine Portfolio Competition for best portfolio. This trophy was donated by a photographic shop in Market Jew Street and first awarded in 1983. 
David and Joan Wills Competition for best pictorial photograph. This was originally for a subject pre-defined each year. This competition is shown in the programme for 1983-84. 
The "Les Ashworth Tankard" for best candid photograph. Les was Chairman of the Club in 1982-83 and the trophy was first presented in April 1984 when he moved to Truro; he then became a Vice-President. 
The "Abid Shah Cups" for portraiture, again donated by well-known portrait photographer whose shop was located in Causewayhead. Trophies are given for best colour print (from 1986), best black and white print (from 1993) and best slide. 
The "St Austell Brewery Cup" was given by the President to the person making the largest contribution in terms of service to the club in the year. It replaced the "President’s Award" and was first given in 1987 by Arthur Cutter to Russell Cargeeg. The last recipient was William Hocking, who holds it in perpetuity, for outstanding services to the Club and as a going away present on retirement to New Zealand. 
George Chapman Audio Visual Competition for audio visual work. This was started in 1990-1991 but is no longer presented. 
Arthur Cutter Cup for best natural history. Arthur was President from 1983 to 1996 and this trophy was donated by his family in his memory. 
The "Kiwi Competition Trophy" for best image from a selection chosen by Club members and sent on CD for judging by William and Lyn Hocking in New Zealand. The trophy is a Celtic design pewter plate donated in 2004 by William and Lyn, who both held significant roles for many years, with William being President until 2004.