It was towards the end of 1978 that the idea of producing a history of the Birkenhead Photographic Association (BPA) was first mooted – at an informal meeting, in fact, of past presidents and other prominent members arranged to discuss the Centenary Celebrations to take place in 1983/84.
Among those who were present at the inaugural meeting, and had shown so much enthusiasm and support for such a history, were a number of much loved and respected members who, sadly, are no longer with us, and here I refer to the late Dorothy Cheers, Fred Scott, Norman Crawshaw, Durrie Blades and Gordon Hatch. Without any doubt these recently deceased members would have wanted the Centenary to be an unqualified success and in this sense it is perhaps appropriate to regard the forthcoming celebrations – and the publication of this booklet – as a fitting memorial to them, their dedication and their lifelong service to the Association.
In regard to my own involvement, it was with a certain degree of pleasure, when approached by the Chairman of Council last year, that I accepted his invitation to write an account of the Association covering the period 1884 to 1984, this with the object of marking its hundredth anniversary.
From the outset my instructions were specific, namely, to keep the account brief and to the point, and, I might add, being somewhat lazy by nature, this advice quite suited me. Be that as it may, I have since come to realise that the restricted nature of this booklet is more the result of a lack of basic information than a strict compliance with my original brief. Particularly in the period from 1884 to around 1930 records of the Association’s doings have been sparse, consequently in Chapters One and Two the contents may appear patchy and incomplete.
In Chapter Three I was helped by having Council Meeting minutes and past copies of “Highlight” to refer to, so in this case it was possible to be more subjective. Whilst endeavouring to describe the more salient facts and events in reasonable detail I decided at the same time to include in the text a few personal experiences and anecdotes for the sake of variety. I can only hope that this presentation has the reader’s approval.
I am indebted to those members and friends who have provided me with odd items of history gleaned from their own personal knowledge and experiences, and particularly I must thank Glynn Jones and Beryl Jones for their helpful information on the Trident Cine Group during the years 1960 to 1976. My thanks are due also to Jean Houghton who so efficiently researched the Association’s correspondence files and minutes of meetings, thus saving much time and effort, and to Desmond Cooper for his helpful advice and encouragement at all times.
C.S. Brown Autumn 1981