THE ORIGINS OF HAMILTON CAMERA CLUB 

Sometime prior to 1903 the then Headmaster of Hamilton Academy, some teachers, botanists, hill walkers and photographers formed a club known as Hamilton Field Club. In 1903 the members of this club who were interested in photography formed a new club, Hamilton Photographic Society. In 1904 the society joined the Scottish Photographic Federation.

In 1922 The Society organised and hosted the Scottish International Salon of Photography and from 1930 – 1932 Isaac Lightbody, a member of Hamilton PS, was President of The Scottish Photographic Federation.

For almost a century the name of the organisation remained the same but for a short period was changed to ‘Hamilton Photographic’ the Society part having been dropped to create a more up to date and punchy name. This change met with mixed responses and early in the present century was changed to Hamilton Camera Club, the present title.

The club has met in various premises over the years including Hamilton Library, premises in Townhead Street, premises in Chapel Street, Ross's Pawn in Old Edinburgh Road, The Astra Club in Almada Street, Auchingramont Church Hall and finally The Old Parish Church Halls.

There is no continuous record of the club's activities since its foundation and there are gaps which it is not possible to fill from individual reminiscences. However research through various written records carried out in preparation for the club’s centenary celebrations in 2003 has left a legacy of snippets which draw an absorbing picture of the club’s early years.

 

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

The Civic Society Minutes of 2nd April 1929

Mr Isaac Lightbody representing the Photographic Society raised the question of the use of the new art gallery for the mounting of exhibitions by the photographic and art clubs whose representatives were to meet the new council in May. The meeting expressed sympathy with the views of these clubs and the chairman undertook to write a letter to the town clerk in support of the arguments advanced.

The Civic Society Minutes of 28th March 1938

… The president made special reference to the gifting of the Miller Collection of lantern slides to the society by Mr Alfred G Miller. This collection he said was the result of his life's work in photography and represented the interest which he and his brother, the late Mr David Miller, had had in the associations of the burgh and district. The collection contained 670 slides including many subjects of Scottish historical interest as well as unique views of bygone scenes in the Clyde Valley.

The Civic Society Minutes of 1st May 1939 (quoted in The Hamilton Advertiser)

At the meeting of The Hamilton District Civic Society, Mr A G Miller, the vice-president, presented two volumes containing the magazine of the former Hamilton Natural History and Photographic Society. The council arranged for the volumes to be preserved in the library and to be available for reference.

The Civic Society Minutes of 11th April 1950

Reference was made to the death of A G Miller .... It was suggested that the Properties of the Society, which were in the strong room of the county library, should be transferred to the public library, an inventory made and the slides catalogued.

The Civic Society Minutes of 3rd March, 13th April, 11th May and 24th November 1953

A representative from the photographic society, Mr J E Cunningham, reported that the slides were in need of binding and repair and that the photographic society might be approached to undertake this. A letter from the photographic society offered a selection of slides from the late Isaac Lightbody's collection which was gratefully accepted with the proviso made that the society should have access to the slides when required. In May a selection of the slides was shown and the remainder were shown in the November by a Mr Dayborn of the society.

Thanks to John Adamson and others who conducted the research which gave rise to this page.