The Pen and Camera Club of Methodism

Founded 1904

Foundation of the Club

The beginnings of the Pen and Camera Club are inseparable from the early days of the Wesley Guild. The first Wesley Guild was started at Roscoe Place Chapel in Leeds by the late Rev.W.B.Fitzgerald in 1893. But it wasn't until the Conference of 1895 that the Wesleyan Methodist Church gave its approval. The first idea of a Camera Club in connection with the then Wesleyan Methodist Church was conceived by the late Rev.H.Mudie Draper. He was then in Circuit work in Douglas I.O.M. and had already founded the Isle of Man Camera Club. It was during a visit to the Guilds on the I.O.M. by the Rev.W.B.Fitzgerald that Rev. Draper suggested the formation of a Camera Club with a travelling portfolio of prints. The Rev.W.B.Fitzgerald   immediately accepted the idea as one of the Cultural activities of the then flourishing Wesley Guild.

 Extracts from 'The Guild’ Magazine.

Issue ‑June.1904:

Our Pen and Camera Postal Club.

In connection with our Pen and Camera pages, we have made arrangements to start a Postal Club for members of the Wesley Guild. Our object will be to advance the study of photography as an art, especially from the pictorial point of view.

The Secretary will be the Rev.H.Mudie Draper, 11, Grosvenor Road , Douglas , Isle of Man , who will forward a copy of the rules to any member of the Guild interested in photography, and who would like to join the Club. A stamped addressed envelope should be enclosed.

We hope every reader of 'The Guild' who possesses a camera will help in the new venture, as it is exceedingly helpful to be able in this way to set productions of other workers, and to secure the careful criticism of experts in the art.

Issue ‑ July,1904:

Our Pen and Camera Postal Club.

We have made a beginning. The Club already has members.

We have bought our Postal Folios, printed our Rules and Criticism Sheets, and now for WORK. The subscription is 3s. per annum to cover the bare cost of material and printing.

Write for rules, etc., to Rev.H.Mudie, Draper, 11, Grosvenor Road , Douglas, Isle of Man. We want all photographers to join who mean to try for excellence.

Issue ‑ September.1904:

Our Pen and Camera Postal Club.

On August 1st. our first folio started on its rounds.

We do not commence with a large number of workers, but these will be added to month by month. We want all Guild photographers to join. We want to see their pictures, and we want them to see ours, and will mutually help each other. The subscription is only 3s  per year; and a copy of the rules may he had by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Rev.H.Mudie Draper, 19, Byron Street , Bradford .

Issue ‑ November,1904...

Our Pen and Camera Postal Club.

The Club is now in full working order. We have doubled our membership during the past month, but we still have root for more workers. Write for rules, etc. to Rev.H.Mudie Draper .... We advise our photographic friends, if they wish to forge ahead, to take in regularly some photographic magazine.

The best penny magazine is 'Focus', published weekly; and for those who wish to excel on the pictorial side nothing better can be had for two pence than the weekly 'Amateur Photographer.

Issue: June.1913:

Good work by the Pen and Camera Club. Nearly all our illustrations this month are by members of the Wesley Build Pen and Camera Club. We well remember the Club being formed a few years ago, and the emphasis laid by its Secretary on artistic work. Much that found its way into the first portfolio was very amateurish; but to‑day it is a pleasure to look through it.

 Many of the prints are exceedingly beautiful; and, as will be seen from the selection given this month, some of our photographers are attacking most difficult subjects. It will be an encouragement to some who are still in the early stages of photography to look at these prints and remember that the artists were once beginners like themselves. We advise those who really aim at excellence to join the P.& C. Club, and avail themselves of the help and criticism of their comrades.

The Secretary is Mr.W.Pye, 150, Sandsfield Lane , Gainsborough.

Issue: September 1930.

Wesley Guild Pen and Camera Club.

In the June number of 'The Guild,' 1913, thirteen of the illustrations were the work of members Of the Build Pen and Camera Postal Club. Two of the members who sent prints to that pre‑war number of 'The Guild' have prints in the portfolio now circulating, which is not a bad testimonial to the value and interest maintained by the Club's activities.

 It may not be surprising that with contributors residing widely apart, the members of the Club have never had a meeting until last Easter, when all who could get away spent the week‑end together at Scarborough . The weather was not all it might have been, but it did not deter one of our members from Scotland , who motored through snow and rain to join the group on Saturday morning.

A meeting of Methodists can usually be trusted to discover their mutual interests without the necessity of formal introductions. On this occasion we knew sufficient of one another to accost a newly arrived member by saying, 'Oh, you'll be Mr.‑‑‑, who always tells me to improve my pictures by cutting two inches from the top and a half an inch from the I left, ' or 'You'll be Mr.‑‑‑ of the sleepy advanced section,' or 'You'll be ‑‑‑, I remember seeing your picture in the folio. ' We were soon able to talk as old friends. From a photographic point of view we may perhaps have a more successful time when next we meet, but a happier week‑end could not be desired. It is safe to prophesy that there will be another meeting of the Club as soon as a favourable opportunity arises.

The foregoing was written by one of the oldest members of the Wesley Guild Pen and Camera Club. If you are a keen photographer, and would like to know more of the Club, please drop a line to the Secretary, Mr.E.Sowden, 3 Oakdene Mount, Clayton, Bradford .

As we have only vacancies for three or four new members, immediate application for membership is necessary. (Members present were listed as Messrs. Joesbury, Davies (Scottie), Halliday, Sowden, Marshall , Braswell. Misses Sugden, Surrill, Dinsley, Teasdale). The enthusiast, and prosperity, of the Club ebbed and flowed over its first 50 years. With never more than about 25 members, some of whom were far from regular with their contributions of prints or money, the Secretary had a gruelling time in keeping them all up to scratch. The Club survived two World Wars and the difficult economic conditions of the time.

At about the time of the Golden Jubilee in 1954, under the enthusiastic leadership of J.E.Norton ARPS, it was decided to form a folio of 2"x2" colour slides. Shortly a second print folio was started, and then further colour slide folios. At the meeting at Highcliffe in 1971 membership was reported as 99 full members and 9 associates, in 1989 membership stood at 4 life Members, 109 full members and 95 associates, in 1993 there are 6 life Members, 114 Full Members, 27 Associates and 50 Household Members.