Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom

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The founding members of the PCUK at the inaugural meeting in Derby 1886

The Photographic Convention of United Kingdom (PCUK) was founded in 1886 and held its first convention in the city of Derby, England, in August of that year.

The founding members were a mixture of professional photographers and wealthy amateurs.[1] Prominent professional photographers present at the first meeting included William England, principal photographer with the London Stereoscopic Company; Richard Keene, who later became a member of The Brotherhood of the Linked Ring and Alfred Seaman who established a large number of studios across the Midlands and North of England. The leading pictorialist photographer Henry Peach Robinson was an early member and was elected President in 1896. William Crooke the prominent Scottish professional photographer was elected president in 1899. Many of the founding members were also members of the Royal Photographic Society but sought to establish an organisation with a more informal and sociable purpose- ‘combining the features of a pleasurable outing with photographic mental friction.’[2]

Attendance at the first meeting was 48 but grew rapidly over coming years to reach 328 by the 1898 event.[3] The pattern of the convention was to choose a town where they would be 'hosted' by a local photographic society. A large hotel was chosen as the convention headquarters and three to four days were devoted to a programme of lectures, outings, exhibitions and dinners.

The members of the PCUK on an outing to Tarbert during the 1887 Convention in Glasgow.

Conventions of the Victorian era were held in:

During the nineteenth century the Convention was a lively focus for debate and experiment around photography.[4] After the First World War interest waned and the PCUK was kept running by an increasingly ageing and declining membership. It finally ceased operating in 1935.[5]


  1. ^ British Journal of Photography September 10th 1886 p570pp
  2. ^ Editorial: The British Journal of Photography, July 9th 1886
  3. ^ Thomas Bedding 'A History of the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom', British Journal of Photography March 10th 1899 p150 pp.
  4. ^ Thomas Bedding 'A History of the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom', British Journal of Photography March 10th 1899 p150 pp
  5. ^ Gordon, Colin (1978) 'A Richer Dust' p 136-137 Elm Tree Books / Hamish Hamilton London England ISBN 0-241-89934-6

External links[edit]

  • [1] Alfred Seaman and the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom. History of the PCUK illustrated with stereoviews by one of its founder members.
  • [2] Edinburgh Photo History -including interesting material on the PCUK
  • [3] Leeds and Bradford Victorian Photographic Studios and material on the Photographic Convention in Leeds