Return of the “Wratten Lecture”

Croydon Camera Club is currently organising the Wratten Lecture 2024. This will be
held at Shirley Methodist Church, Croydon, on 17th April 2024 with guest speaker
Graeme Purdy giving a talk ‘A Photographic Journey with Wildlife’.

Advanced tickets will be available shortly and will also be available “on the door”.

Origin of the Wratten Lecture

Upon election as club President in 1983, Harold Stillwell immediately revived interest
moving the club’s meeting venue from the Friends’ Meeting House to the YMCA. He also
revived a long-neglected tradition of having a major “star” attraction for a lecture. During
Stillwell’s first year as President in 1983 however, membership continued to fall, in spite of
some first-class lectures by A. W. Friese Greene, Colin Garrett and Dr Brian Most FRPS.
Although publicity was essential to attract new members, no Council members were
prepared to act.

New ideas: The Wratten Lecture

To cap his magnificent programme Harold Stillwell, ably supported by an energetic
Secretary with influential connections with the RPS) inaugurated the “Wratten Memorial
Lectures” using a name that was still associated with the Club after three generations, and
which eventually helped stimulate both increased membership and revival of the Club’s
finances. The idea of running this one important lecture each year under the title of The
Wratten Lecture (which was open to other clubs) helped put Croydon’s name back on the
On November 14th 1984, Heather Angell FRPS, the then RPS President gave her illustrated
talk entitled “Water Magic” to 100 members and guests. This splendid inaugural Wratten
Lecture, set up and most efficiently organised by Tessa Most, achieved all its aims. Ms
Angell’s three-figure fee was substantially covered by ticket sales at £l per head, resulting
in a net profit of £62.
During the Wednesday meeting following Heather Angell’s lecture, Joan Wakelin FRPS
delivered a memorable and often emotional lecture, accompanied by her images. Then
during the following week’s meeting, Hazell Hayward FRPS judged a competition evening.
November 1984 therefore turned out to be very much a lady’s month at a time when
women audience members were always outnumbered by gentlemen.

Star lectures, successful outings

The second Wratten Lecture was held on November 26th 1985 and presented by the noted
South African photographer Barry Wilkins FRPS. The photographs, which included many
split and double screen images primarily of South African wild life, were felt by the 100
strong audience of members and guests to be both excellent and memorable. Again,
Tessa and Brian Most who had arranged the evening so successfully for the Club in
conjunction with the RPS, were congratulated on their achievement.
Star lecturers during the rest of the season’s program included Bill Wisden, Alan Richards,
Joan Wakelin, Roy King and Helene Rogers; and during October 1985, in conjunction with
the RPS, Don Morrison came down from the North East with some magnificent slides of the
Northumberland coast.

The third Wratten Lecture

The third Wratten Lecture, on November 4th 1987, proved to be even better than the
previous two. Dr David Wheeler FRPS presented his lecture entitled “Selective Vision”
employing some brilliant colour slides. For the third time therefore, an excellent Wratten
lecturer had been brought to Croydon by Tessa Most.

The loss of I.D.Wratten

The death of I.D.Wratten CBE, Hon FRPS in 1988 finally ended the club’s long association
with the Wratten family, over three generations and nearly 100 years.

Recent Wratten Lectures

More recent Wratten Lectures have included the following:

  • March 2013 “Photography and Communication” by Damien Demolder 1
  • March 2015 “The Photographer’s Eye: On Travel” by Michael Freeman
  • March 2017 “Decisive Moments” by Ken Lennox
  • March 2020 “From Dawn to Dusk” by Mark Bauer 2
  1. Damien Demolder was the editor of “Amateur Photographer”
  2. The March 2020 lecture was meant to celebrate 130 years of CCC. Owing to the
    Covid pandemic however, it was postponed and subsequently run during October
    2020 as a Zoom meeting.