Back in the distant past of 1969, the British Legion at Wymondham decided to sponsor an exhibition for all the clubs and associations in the town. The organisers noticed that the list of exhibitors did not include a photographic club, so they contacted Doug Fulcher (a well-known local photographer at the time) and Mike Cooper (our current President) and asked them if they could contribute to the exhibition, and so the club was born, with Doug and Mike displaying slides and prints at the Legion’s exhibition at the Wymondham High School in September 1969.
To start with, the club was called the Wymondham Camera Club, but it quickly became the Wymondham and Attleborough Camera Club when the remaining four members of the Attleborough Camera Club joined. The name changed again on 25 June 2002 when it became the Wymondham Photographic Society, as the membership was no longer limited to Wymondham and Attleborough and the club was more interested in the finished photograph than the mechanics of producing it or the cameras themselves.
The first planned meeting was held on 22 July 1969 with about 10 members. The first two or three meetings took place at Doug Fulcher’s house and each member contributed two shillings (10 pence to you) every meeting. The club then moved to the Wymondham Ex‑Service Man’s Club which was next to Damgate House. The society continued to grow, and after about six months at the Ex-Service Mans Club, Bernard Stutely offered the society the use of the Meeting Hall at Town Green, this was rent free on condition that the society maintained the building. Quite a bit of work was necessary, so the society had to raise funds quickly, the members bought food, hired a band and ran three buffet dances which turned in a profit of about £300, this was quite a sizeable sum in the late 1970s. Fortunately, the society’s members included two builders and an electrician and the maintenance work, which included improved lighting and new electric heating, was completed successfully.
Whilst rummaging around in the Meeting Hall, the society members came across an old and “interesting” chair. With the help of a local antique dealer, they managed to turn this into 60 “ordinary” chairs which was more than enough to accommodate all the members of the society. To finish things off, the members made a projector screen out of two pieces of hardboard and Brian Blake made a stand for the projector.
In 1980 the society organised a very successful talk on the Flora and Fauna of the Norfolk Broads by Ted Ellis which was illustrated by his slides, about 150 people attended the talk which was held in Wymondham Central Hall.
About 1984 Bernard Stutley needed the use of the Meeting Hall to house his sailing dingy and the society moved to the Damgate Rooms in the town centre, where they stayed until 2006 when they moved to Dell Bowling in Norwich Road.
The Society continues to prosper and in 2009 it hosted a talk by Joe Cornish, an internationally renowned landscape photographer, which was attended by over 100 people.
Up until about 2001 the members were using film cameras. The move to digital cameras started in 2001 and now all of the society’s members use digital cameras of one kind or another. Some members also still enjoy using medium and large format film cameras.
These days, the slide projector has been replaced by a superb quality wide-screen digital projector, and “digital projected images” have replaced slides, however, we’re still using the projector stand made by Brian Blake all those years ago.