Quick link to 75th anniversary pages



Selected Timeline of Reigate Photographic Society


1938: 11 January

Inaugural meeting attended by 50 people at the Old Wheel Teashop, Church Street, Reigate. [Following advertisement in the Surrey Mirror on 31 December 1937: “All interested in photography will be heartily welcomed”]

1938: 15 February

Second meeting: RPS Headquarters rented from TocH* at the former YMCA Building at 111, Station Road, Redhill[near the present Linkfield Corner roundabout]. Comprised a large meeting room and a former bathroom to be converted into a permanent darkroom. [* TocH was/is a social fellowship and outreach organisation with a Christian basis originally founded as a soldiers’ rest house on the Western Front in the First World War.] Minimum annual “donation” 10/6d. but larger sums hoped for in view of the expected heavy expenses in purchasing equipment.

1938: March

Admitted to the Royal PS as a member society

1938: 2 April

First exhibition, 6 weeks after foundation. [47 entries in Beginners’ Section; 49 in Advanced.]

1938: November & December

Sessions on cine [black and white and colour] and “miniature” [i.e. 35mm] photography, infra-red and “record” versus “pictorial”.

1939: January

Sessions on high speed press photography and Mr Rowland Sammes on “40 Years of Photography” to mark the Centenary of Photography since Fox-Talbot’s first images in 1839

1939: February

Proposal to apply for an alcoholic drinks licence at the HQ rejected.

1939: Summer

First RPS Garden Party at home of President, Mr R. Rawle and Mrs Rawle. Some “candid camera” images of the proceedings.

1939: September

Committee decided to keep the Society running despite the outbreak of the Second World War. [A visiting speaker (an official of the Royal PS) said” Too many societies have closed their doors… we don’t want to drop everything just because a few mad dogs are running amok”.]

1939: 16 October

EGM confirmed the decision to keep the Society going[despite younger members being called up for active service and older ones taking on war duties such as emergency firemen: “owing to worries and troubles being even more prevalent than usual, fellowship was more than even necessary”]

1939: November

Surrey Mirror report quoted a visiting lecturer & judge: “Spending hours in the dark room to produce the perfect negative ‘an ideal occupation for these blackout evenings’”. [This only required “a retouching desk, HB and 9H pencils with long, sharp points (good quality as grit in cheap ones damages the negative), a bottle of retouching medium, some plumbago and one or two small brushes”].

1940: January

RPS featured in an article in Photo World by Paul C. de Save, Hon. Sec.

1940: 24 February

At the AGM RPS declared “almost broke”: concern that the level of subscriptions at 10/6d. too low for the Society’s level of expenditure. [Too much reliance of additional donations. In the previous financial year £22 19s. 4½d. spent on darkroom fittings and equipment.]

1940 - 1950

Semi-hibernation during the war and immediate post-war years: Fluctuating levels of annual subscription: 1941-1941: £1 5s. 0d., 1943 -1945: 5/-. 1946 -1953: 10/6d.

From 1946 rents paid to L.P.Rees & Co. for the darkroom (location unknown) and the Market Hall company for meeting room hire. [The original TocH accommodation in Station Road seems to have been lost at some time during WWII – maybe the premises were requisitioned for wartime purposes?]

1950: 27 February

Jack Thomas joined RPS. Annual membership still 10/6d. [Life Member in 1971]. L.P Rees darkroom dismantled by Cowleys plumbers.

1950: March

First recorded post-war Exhibition at the Reigate and Redhill School of Arts and Crafts, Blackborough Road


Rent paid at Market Hall and Joan’s Café


October - December 1953 – rent paid to Greyhound pub. From January 1954 meeting room rent paid to Somers Hall.


Annual subscription raised from 10/6d. to 15/- (2/6d. for juniors)

RPS started to meet at Reigate Priory School Assembly Hall


Subscriptions raised to £1 1s. 0d. (one guinea).


Keith Duerden and Jack Thomas together repaid 10/- for losses on the 1954 Christmas Party.

1958: July

RPS member R.E.Diplock was runner-up in the “Action” section of the International Photographic Contest

1958 & 1959

Annual Dinners at Mill House, Salfords: cost 10/6d. [15/- by 1962].


An undated note on the flyleaf of the accounts book for 1960/1960 – 1987/1988 reads:

It is impossible to bribe or marr,

Thank God, the Reigate Treasurer;

But, seeing what the man can do

Unaided, there’s no reason to”.


The “Syllabus” (i.e. Programme) had an exhibition competition but no other internal competitions, but there were inter-club “battles” with Crawley, Croydon and Epsom in colour slides and with Crawley and Carshalton in prints. (Les Dyson would certainly have conveyed congratulations on the choice of competitive conjunctions).

Subscriptions for 1961-1962 increased to £1 10s. 0d. (£2 0s. 0d. couples)

1963: 25thAnniversary

Also centenary of the Borough of Reigate. Exhibition held on the theme “This is Reigate” – with particular emphasis on those who live, work and play in both Reigate and Redhill. Organised by John Morris, Keith Duerden and Ron Duplock. [“The organising Committee have often been asked by local residents whether there is sufficient “life” in the Borough to justify an Exhibition of this kind. The photographers have proved by their observation of people, events and situations that there is indeed an abundance of material. The exhibition will be given a place in the Borough’s archives where it should prove to be of historic merit to later generations.”]


Subscriptions for 1968-1969 raised to £2 0s. 0d. [£2. 10s. 0d. couples, 17/6d. juniors]


Decimalisation! Subscriptions for 1971-1972 raised to £2.50p, [£3.00p. for couples]


Problems over lack of darkroom and other dissatisfaction with Priory School. Search for alternative meeting venue began. 36 members. RPS wins SPA Print Competition


Surrey Mirror not printing meeting and activity reports submitted


RPS meetings held at Woodhatch Library - but found to be a drain on funds, no scope to offer refreshments to visitors and ending of evening lighting and heating on Mondays. RPS returned to Reigate Priory School for term time meetings, Old Town Hall in school holidays


One day exhibition at Old Town Hall, Reigate. 600 visitors. Reg Seale a “triple winner”.


49 members. At autumn Exhibition Vera Crowe raised £7.80p from the sale of blackberries

1976 - February

Women’s Institute tea trolley sold by mistake at RPS jumble sale at Meadvale Hall. Regular jumble sales were organised by Margaret Bates in the 1970s. Tea Trolley recovered for £1.20. Hall caretaker given chocolates (and wrapping) worth in total £1.61p as “compensation” for the trouble.

1976 - October

Experimental mid-meeting coffee breaks introduced at RPS’s expense. Members reject proposed charge of 5p per cup.


Internal Club competitions introduced at some stage this decade


Some meetings held in the Methodist Hall


Subscriptions increased to £3.50p [Couples £4.50p. but some discounted to £3.00p (pensioners?)] Tomatoes donated by Vera Crowe in October 1977 sold for 30p. and fruit in September 1978 for a total of £3.25p.

1977 - April

56 members + 7 Hon. Life Members. Caretaker at Reigate Priory School complained some RPS Members were ignoring the “No Smoking” signs.

Subscriptions £3.50p [Couples £4.50p. couple discounts £3.00p]

1977 - November

RPS 3rd in the Surrey Rosebowl competition, and with the best slide. Complaints about a judge in a knock-out competition with Selsdon; “too narrow a view”. Worries about high cost of producing the Newsletter. Purchase of second-hand typewriter reduced production costs from £5-6 per issue to £4.


Subscriptions £5.00p [Couples £6.50p. couple discounts £4.50p]

1979 - March

Currently 8th in Practical Photographer “Top Club” competition. Concern about an “unsuitable item” [unspecified] that had appeared in a recent Newsletter.

1979 - April

After prolonged debate and some disagreement RPS donates £25 to the appeal to establish a National Photographic Centre

1979 - May

RPS member wins Practical Photographer “Club picture of the month”


Subscriptions £7.50p [Couples £9.75p. couple discounts £6.75p]


Subscriptions £8.00p [Couples £10.50p. couple discounts £7.50p]


3rd open slide competition held at St. Mark’s Hall, Alma Road. Over 200 entries. 90 attended. Subscriptions £9.00p. Hall rent payments for Reigate Priory resumed in the accounts [though some gratuities to the Priory Caretaker had continued since the 1970s]

Subscriptions £9.00p [Couples £12.00p couple discounts £8.50p]


Exhibition nearly failed through a lack of funds but was rescued with sponsorship from Air Europe of Gatwick. Reg. Seale, Chair; Alan Ainsworth, General Secretary.

Subscriptions £10.50p [Couples £14.00p. couple discounts £10.00p.]


£350 Lottery Grant for a new projector


RPS presented “Project Heritage” to mark 750thanniversary of Reigate Priory. Proposed by President Geoff. Rogers; slides organised by David Brown and prints by John Carless. 171 prints exhibited.

Subscriptions £12.00p. [Couples £16.00p. couple discounts £11.50p]

RPS member Philip Duplock won a Bronze Medal at the 100th Exhibition of the Birkenhead International Colour Salon


Meetings refreshment charge 20p


50th Anniversary. Competition organised through theSurrey Mirror. 2 Groups; under 18 and over 18. Winners received a £25 cheque and the runners up a £10 voucher from Reids Photographic of Reigate. All received free membership for 1988-1989. (Organisers: Reg. Seale, Alan Ainsworth, Steve Lawrenson, John Carless, David Thorpe and Mike Sammes (of the Singers and son of Roland Sammes, a former President and owner of a photo. shop in Reigate). Mrs Hilda Weekes clocked up 21 years on the Committee. The Surrey Mirror reported the Society’s records for 1940 – 1947 had been lost. [Not true, at least as regards the accounts].


Subscription for individual members: £15.00p

1990: October

52nd Exhibition: Prizes awarded by Don Fraser, top industrial photographer (4x winner of the FT Photographer of the Year Award)

1991: April

RPS won the Surrey Federation (?SPA) Silverwood Trophywith “7 colours of the spectrum”


RPS Committee:

President: Reg Seale

Chair: Gerry Stone

Vice-Chair: Margaret Bates

Hon. Sec.: Steve Lawrenson

Hon. Treasurer: Philip Duplock

Competition Secretary: Bob Boden

Publicity Secretary: May Savage

Annual summer outing becomes the Chatham Challenge:a set subject one-day competition at a single or defined location chosen and judged by last year’s winner and presented at the pre-Christmas social

1993 & 1994

RPS won the Albany Cup (founded by Brewers Ltd. in 1963) in successive years for slides of beach scenes and prints of circular machinery: the 1994 team was Bob Boden, John Carless, Norman Blackmore, Fred Judd, Val Thompson and Steve Lawrenson. (Also won in 74th year, 2012)


Priory School proposes large rent increase, using a new local budget delegation


After many years at the Priory School, RPA meetings moved to St. Matthew’s Church Hall due an unacceptable required rent increase.

1997 - April

RPS 2nd in SPA Silverwood Trophy: image of London Bridge


RPS moves to its present home at Reigate Methodist Church lower hall


Focus Group set up: to help members develop their practical skills.


Gradual transition to digital photography, boosted in 2008 with purchase of digital projector and laptop with a National Lottery grant


RPS again wins the Albany Cup after 18 years with monochrome 4-image panel “Metalmorphoasis”



Club celebrates 75th Anniversary 


Peter Flower publishes the 100th Newsletter


Messrs Don Morley, Peter Flower and Steve Lawrenson recognised as ‘Fellows of the Society’



Acquisition of new projector and sound equipment, and annual subscription raised to £65