The club started in 1955 under the guidance of Dr C.A. Cleland who was the Superintendent of the Ontario Hospital. It was called the Ontario Provincial Civil Servants Camera Club and was open only to provincial civil servants and their immediate families.
That first year there were thirty-three members. Our numbers have fluctuated widely, dropping to only six in 1968 and again in 1971. Since then the trend has been generally upward. For the 2005-06 season we had forty-two paid-up members.
Through the years the club participated in the life of the hospital in various ways. On numerous occasions members presented programs for patients and staff. For several years members developed and printed the pictures for the hospital newspaper Encounter. For more than ten years, members submitted a group of photos to Management Advisory who chose a group of pictures to be enlarged, framed and hung in the dining room. The following year these would be replaced by a new group of pictures. The older pictures were then hung in other areas around the hospital.
There has always been organized outings and shooting sessions. Early on there was even a weekend in Niagara Falls. More recently we have ventured as far as Black Creek Village and African Lion Safari with even more closer to home such as Springwater, Bachus Woods and Fanshawe Park Village, and the Doon Heritage Village. Many of these outings ended with “pot luck” lunches or wiener roasts.
By 1999, the hospital was no longer run by the government, and was taken over by St. Joseph’s Hospital of London. This then allowed us to open up the membership to anyone interested. The club name was changed to the St Thomas Photographic Guild as a reflection of our continuing emphasis on learning and experimentation.
By 2005, as a result of our increased membership, it became necessary to move our regular meetings out of the small clubrooms to the St Thomas Public Library. This move had given us an even higher profile in the community.
Now currently, the Photoguild continues to meet (as listed on the Contact Page of this site) at the St Thomas Military Museum.