A short history of The Oswestry Photographic Society
The amateur photographic society was formed in Oswestry on Friday 4th May 1956 at an inaugural meeting at The Bell Hotel in Oswestry. The original name was The Oswestry and District Photographic Society and they met from the 8th May 1956 weekly on a Tuesday.
The first AGM was held in the clubroom at The Bell Hotel on the 8th June 1956. The rules of the society were formalised, and members were asked to bring a chair to sit on.
By 1963 a cine secretary was elected. The meetings were now held at Oswestry Boys’ Modern School.
The Society moved to Oswestry College of Further Education in College Road where they were allowed to use the darkroom. There were thirty-five members at this time.
The meetings moved to The Golden Lion, Morda Road in 1974, however, the boys’ school was still used for larger meetings.
Audio-visual evenings were very popular in 1979 and practical Portrait Nights and a library exhibition of members' work was introduced into the programme in the 1980s.
In 1986 the membership rose to 50 members with 60 people attending a talk by wildlife photographer Mike Leach in a crowded library meeting room.
A special general meeting drafted and approved new society rules in line with the recommendations of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain in 1989.
Members generated income for a new slide projector by supplying Photographs in the 1997 Oswestry & Borderland tourism brochure.
The 1998 season started with a Beginners Night to encourage new members. In 1999 the society raised its profile by running a stand at The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham at Photo Action 99.
The 2000 season included a Millennium exhibition of member’s prints at Oswestry library, the first society website courtesy of Myk Briggs, a long-standing member who ran The Bakery photo studio at Cefn-Mawr, and a society rules revision to include digital imaging.
In 2003 following a dispute with the way we were charged for our meeting room at Oswestry Library, followed by the electrics in the room being condemned, we moved our meetings to the Conservative Club in Willow Street.
Another move of the society meeting room followed the sale of the Conservative Club, in 2005, to the new Cambrian Railway Club in Gobowen Road, the ex-RAOB club. The room fee doubled to £70. Our chairman revisited sponsorship from within Oswestry and raised it to £150, plus £1,500 from the Town Council later, with the aim of purchasing a laptop and digital projector as the digital entries now exceeded 50% of entries.
2006 was our 50th Anniversary which was celebrated with a two & half-week exhibition of members' work in the Oswestry Library. We now have a laptop and digital projector.
When the Cambrian Railway Club was sold and demolished for redevelopment, we moved to 35 Willow Street a new bar and restaurant (the former Conservative club) and used either the ground floor room or the restaurant on the 1st floor.
On February 16th 2011 No35 Willow St closed for business. We were offered a room for free at The Smithfield Hotel (former The Bear Hotel) this offer was withdrawn so our next meeting was at The Oswestarian, Red Square. Sorry I meant Festival Square!
A Flickr group has been set up to encourage membership.
In 2012 Slides are banned from competitions. In March 2014 our meetings moved to The Plough Inn we had a free room if we bought the beer.
The Covid outbreak affected us in 2020 – 2021, outings with social distancing and meetings on Zoom saved the day. Congratulations are due to the new officers and committee actions during this difficult time.
I, Philip Macey, retired as Honorary Secretary in 2015 after completing 20 years in the post. I did raise the point that future records may be only digital and in the form of emails. In researching and writing this brief history I wondered how will our past be remembered in the digital future.
Philip Macey, Honorary President of Oswestry Photographic Society on 23rd November 2022.