A CITY society celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.
Chester Photographic Society was founded on March 16, 1877 and a month later joined forces with the Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature and Art to take advantage of the dark room and meeting facilities at the newly-opened Grosvenor Museum.
Members, 32 of them at the time, developed a relationship with the then Duke of Westminster, who gave permission for them to take photographs in Eaton Park and Hawarden Park and gave them ‘enlarging apparatus’ to help them with their hobby.
The society’s first Open Exhibition was in 1949, becoming the Open and International competition in 1950, which received support from photographers in 26 countries worldwide.
Current member John Beavan discovered a surprise familial link after he joined the society in 1996.
He said: “I was aware that my grandfather’s family had lived here for about 10 years until moving back to south Wales (where I was born) around 1924.
“When an aunt died in 1998, among her possessions was a cutting from the Chester Chronicle, dated November 11, 1922, which to my surprise revealed that my grandfather, R H Beavan, had been chairman of the society and that my father had also been a member. Further investigation revealed that he was chairman from 1918-24 and gave many lectures at the Grosvenor Museum on his travels to the Far East and on various photographic processes.
“Also amongst my aunt’s papers was a permit issued by the superintendent of police authorising him to ‘take photographs of incidents in connection with the Prince of Wales visit to Hong Kong in 1922.’
Mr Beavan’s lecture, A Visit to Hong Kong, was written up at length in the Chester Chronicle of February 3, 1923.
The report stated: ‘The lecturer made many humorous comments during the evening on various incidents and Chinese characteristics. Several of the views were greeted with irrepressible appreciation...’
The society’s current members are still experts in their field. Roger Evans, who joined the society four years ago, gained a PAGB silver medal and two commended at the last British Photographic Exhibition. He has won a Royal Photographic Society silver award and a FIAP (Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique) gold medal.
Chester Photographic Society meets every Tuesday between September and April at the lecture theatre in Grosvenor Museum or at the United Reformed Church in Vicars Cross.
On Tuesday, Chester Photographic Society will host Colin Prior, one of the world’s leading landscape photographers, at St Mary’s Centre. Tickets are £10 including refreshments from email@example.com.