Banbury Camera Club

Chenderit School Middleton Cheney Nr. Banbury

Your story

Banbury Camera Club. Looking after our local photographic heritage.

Group introduction

Banbury Camera Club will be celebrating its 70th anniversary this coming year. It is run by a committee elected annually by the members. We have 90 members who are interested in all forms of photography.

Based at Chenderit School, a Visual Arts college, we have use of their darkroom facilities, their computer suite and their exhibition gallery. We use the gallery every year to stage an exhibition of our work, which raises several hundred pounds in aid of the Katharine House Hospice at Adderbury near the town. We also provide the hospice with photographs to use in its annual fund-raising calendar.

Banbury is a small market town, the very centre of which is a hotch-potch of 17th century timbered houses and Georgian and Victorian buildings. Just outside the town centre there were areas where Victorian entrepreneurs had set up many and various small factories and workshops to manufacture and maintain the machinery and equipment so important to the large agricultural region known as "Banburyshire". Adjacent to their factories they built close-packed terraced houses for their workers.

Shortly after the club was founded in 1946 the nation was in the grip of the post-war rebuilding fever. It was the age of the "Festival of Britain". Town planners were keen to get on with the job of building new houses for the "New Elizabethans".

Planning laws and their enforcement became very lax and there were several incidents in the following years when attractive old listed buildings were demolished in prevailing frenzy of rebuilding. One such was the Old Cake Shop in Parsons Street, built in 1638 and demolished in 1967, despite protests from local people (see photo)
A member of the Banbury Camera Club was becoming increasingly disturbed about the destruction of many of these old building and persuaded the club that it would be an interesting and worthwhile project to record anything in danger of disappearing.

These photos (taken over 50 years ago) formed the basis of the "Images of Banbury" project which is currently run by a group within the club. It is a continually expanding archive of historic photographs of the building, people and events in the town and district donated by members and friends.

Selections from our archives are used to produce shows for projection at local clubs, care-homes, hospitals and hospices. They are particularly popular amng the more elderly residents, including the "Times Gone By" reminiscence group which meets in Banbury Museum.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

Some of our equipment is suffering wear and tear because we have to take it out to each venue as required and set it up. In addition the laptop and projector are now eight years old. We would use the money to put towards buying replacements so that we can continue to put on the shows mentioned above.

"If anyone in Banbury and district has an image they wish to be preserved for posterity, be it of a building, person or event, please get in touch with the Banbury Camera Club. We will scan it, keep it in our digital archives and return the original to you. Don't worry about the media, we recently returned a box of 100 year old glass plates to its owner, newly cleaned together with a DVD with all the digital images on.
Alan Sargeant, committee member currently in charge of the Images of Banbury project"

For more information visit: Club