There are few early records available but it is known that the club was founded in the mid nineteen-forties under the name Reed Photographic Club, a section of Reed's Sports Club, the members all being employees of Reed's Aylesford Paper Mill. The Chairman was Bob Smith with George Mount as Secretary. Names of early members that come to mind are Reg Fuller, Reg Lyons, Doug Bowles, Bert Fulcher, Jack Court and Bert Hucks. Meetings in the old ARP dugout on the Reed site were often hazardous as well as informative and entertaining for at times of heavy rain or the overflowing of the nearby River Medway, members had to walk about on duckboards !!
The next decade saw the club moving into more substantial accommodation above ground near New Hythe Station. During this time membership increased and a studio area was added to the existing darkroom.
The next move came in the late nineteen-seventies. This time it was to the '77' pavilion, still on the Reed site. The new clubroom had no darkroom facilities and was a temporary arrangement until the building of the larger Sports Pavilion and Social Centre at Ditton Corner. The club was then renamed the Cobdown Camera Club. The premises were excellent but we were, unfortunately, frequently moved away from our usual adequate hall without warning. The ever more frequent moves into a small room restricted our inter-club meetings and it was decided to sever all ties with Cobdown Sports and Social Club. Our last meeting there took place on Tuesday, 13th December 1994 when Don and Gill Beevis gave their slide presentation on the River Medway. For almost fifty years the club had been associated with Reeds. It seems appropriate that our last meeting should have involved the Medway when, half a century earlier, our founders had battled to keep that same river at bay !! The totally independent Malling Photographic Society had its first meeting on Tuesday, 20th December 1994 and what better way to start than with the annual Cheese and Wine evening? We now have an excellent home in the West Malling Village Hall where we are able to entertain other clubs for competitions and to participate once again in County and district photographic activities.
The Malling Photographic Society is affiliated to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) via the Kent County Photographic Association (KCPA). The following provides details of the Society history from 1994 to 2007
The loss of exhibition facilities at Larkfield Library was the start of a four year search for a permanent home in which to stage our exhibition.
This turned out to be an extremely busy year for all members of the Society. We were asked by the University of Greenwich to photograph buildings in West Malling as part of a millennium project. As a result of giving this assistance we were offered exhibition space in King's Hill. We gladly took this up, as a one off event, in September and October. The Offham Society requested our assistance, also for a millennium project, in taking photographs of every house in the village with the residents standing in front of their property. All these photographs are now archived in Maidstone Library. In May we successfully hosted the Ross Cup at the Ditton Community Centre. 28 Clubs took part and we had approximately 200 attendees on the day.
We took part in the Macey's Meadow project sponsoring a tree, Sorbus Torminalus. Macey's Meadow was developed in memory of Perry Macey. On 10th August we launched our website which has become extremely popular over the years and has gone from strength to strength.
Still in search of a permanent exhibition home we were approached by the Malling Society and ask to stage an exhibition in the Clout Institute. This ran for eight weeks with some 80 exhibits in show. 2003 Again we held an exhibition at the Clout Institute with a similar number of prints. In both 2002 and 2003 Bill Hutchins was judged to be the winner of the monochrome section, covering West Malling, by an independent panel of judges. Lily Hayward was chosen by the public as the winner of the general public in 2002 and Don Beevis was the winner of this section in 2003.
We had a double page spread in the Kent and Sussex magazine with a selection from seven authors. The search for a permanent exhibition home ends!!!. A new surgery, Thornhills, was built in Martin Square, Larkfield. Derek Hurst our vice-chairman was able to negotiate the housing of our images in the surgery. 30 framed prints, changed annually, now adorn the walls in the corridors.
Introduction of the Chairman's Cup and a new Society Constitution drafted by the committee and ratified by the Members. Purchase of a digital projector.
Introduction of new digital competitions into the programme.
Purchase of a lap-top to support the digital aspects of the Society's activities. Our inter-club competitions for the Cobdown Shield (prints) and the Malling Shield (slides) have attracted a great deal of interest and have been expanded over the years and now include 12 clubs. The social calendar now includes: May - Annual Dinner and presentation of trophies. June - The Annual Outing. August - The Summer Barbecue. December - The Christmas Party.
This year we held our first Open Day at West Malling Village Hall. Showcasing - a print exhibition: Photoshop demonstration: audio visual demonstration, camera equipment and the opportunity to have your portrait taken. This was considered to be a success and it was decided to hold the Open Day as an annual event.
Our ageing projector, now some 4½ years old, was replaced with the help of a grant from the Kent County Council.
Launch of new Interactive Website providing online competitions and a forum for member discussions.
Launch of new website powered by Clikpic to enable easier editing by non-IT savvy members!