Cambois Camera Clubs first meeting was held in June 1950 at “rented accomodation”, a hut belonging to the Cambois Rowing Club. This was on the site of the Power Station dock. Only about four people attended these early meetings.
On the 8th September 1950, following requests from various members of the public, a talk on photography was held in the British Legion Hut by Mr. T Douglas, Mr. H Wardle, and Mr. J R Fenwick. Mr Fenwick was in charge of the hut and they used it free of charge. Mr. Fenwick gave a demonstration entitled ” Photography and Printing in a Pie Dish” to an audience of twenty people. The word soon spread aroundand by popular demand this demonstration was repeated.
Mr Fenwick served in the RAF during the war on reconnaissance work and he could develop and print his own work.
It was then decided to form Cambois Camera Club. Mr T Douglas was appointed Chairman, Mr G Dalley Secretary and Mr J Rump Treasurer. On May 7th 1951 the season began at the Rowing Club as running water was available for developing and printing.
A few months later the club purchased a plot of land next to the British Legion Hut on Ridley Terrace from the Co-Operative Society for the sum of £33 10s 0d. £25 for the land plus legal costs. The land was bought by the original trustees Mr. T H Douglas, Mr. J D Rump, Mr. E R Thirwell and Mr. G Dalley on behalf of the club. An application for planning permission to build a clubhouse was made and in April 1952 permission was granted and work could begin on constructing the building.
Fundraising was a priority and the members wives did an amazing job by organizing dances, jumble sales and beetle drives in the local Institute.The men ran domino cards, the Cambois Womens Institute choir and drama group also raised a considerable sum. The efforts of the original members, their wives, families and friends must have been enormous. The three main ladies responsible for fund raising were affectionately know as the “Three Mrs. Mops”. In 1957 they were given life memberships, the first members to receive this honour and at the Presentation Dinner in 1959 were each presented with a string of pearls.
To save money the members did much of the building work themselves in their free time.An article in the Blyth News dated September 10th 1953 had a picture showing members laying the foundations of the clubhouse. Pictured left to right are Mr J Long club Vice President and a Colliery Deputy, Mr. T Douglas the Chairman and a Miner, Mr. L Marshall a committee member and also a Miner and Mr. L Walton a committee member and Miner too.
Work was done as and when funds allowed and halted when funds ran low. The members were fortunate to be able to reclaim bricks for free from a local colliery which was demolishing some workshops. They still had to save up to buy the cement though! In order to complete the building a mortgage was obtained from The Tynemouth Victoria Jubilee Permanent Building Society of £250.00 with repayments £2 9s10d until it was paid off. Mr Dalleys brother in Law a Mr. J Sprat was a bricklayer and built the walls. He would travel from Blyth on the ferry and his payment was his fare! He did receive £20 on completion of his work though. Mr. Marshall Mr. Holland and Mr. Long gave up one week of their annual holiday to lay the wooden floor, Mr. J Pringle plastered the walls and Mr. R Wynn tiled the floor.
Mr J Long
Mr R Wynn
Two club members were Joiners and built the roof and did all the woodwork, Mr. Holland made the lockers and small tables. Until the mortgage was paid off the building had open rafters with no ceiling, once the mortgage was repaid the money was raised for a ceiling and a loft created. Secondhand toilets were obtained from some miners cottages which were being refurbished nearby.
The curtains were made by Mrs Thirwell, each member bought a lampshade from British Home Stores and cups were bought from Woolworths (in Queens Green)