Brief History of the Club

Sevenoaks and District Photographic Society: the 1920s

The earliest references we have found to organised amateur photography in Sevenoaks are with the start of a society in 1922. Sadly it may only have lasted five years or so. Club member Derek Medhurst has written up as a PDF the findings from his research into that Society.

The current club

The story of the current Club begins in 1952 when discussions were held by local enthusiasts about starting a photographic group in Sevenoaks. (There was no obvious link to the earlier Society.) The first formal meeting was held in late 1952. In 2002 at the time of our 50th anniversary a former Chairman, Eric Keys, found a humorous anecdote about refreshments at early Club meetings: see his report in our Newsletter.

In our first decade the evidence is that we were a thriving Club, with some highly regarded members, and we had our successes within the Kent County Photographic Association print competitions. The earliest Club programme (or “syllabus” as it was called then) we have found is for the 1958 to 1959 season.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the membership decline significantly, but we overcame that temporary difficulty and have built a thriving membership once again. In 1992 another former Chairman and one of our founder members, Arthur Green, penned some memories of the first 40 years of the Club for our Anniversary celebrations. Read his story from our newsletter.

Membership numbers have fluctuated over the last 25 years. In 2019 we had about 60 members, with a high proportion coming along regularly to our meetings. Whilst the covid pandemic starting in 2020 prevented us from meeting physically, we moved meetings online. Whilst we have lost some, we still have about four dozen active members. Our visiting judges and speakers often comment (whether face to face or on Zoom) on the friendly nature of the Club, and we're sure that helped us through the most trying two years in our history.

We try to be active in the KCPA, and have hosted their annual slide competition - the Handley Shield - twice, and to celebrate our own 50th anniversary we hosted the equivalent for prints in 2003 - the Ross Cup. And Sevenoaks members have been President and Hon Treasurer of the KCPA.

In their issue of 18 February 2017 the magazine Amateur Photographer published a one-page article about the Club. With their permission you can see a copy of the article.