The Old School House was built in Victorian times and served the Borough of Oldbury as a primary school. When we discovered the school in 1999, it was disused and in a very poor state of repair. We realised that this building had great potential to become our new headquarters but the costs of purchase and restoration appeared daunting.
A number of members invested in its purchase, with the Society purchasing shares. Donations from friends from around the UK helped complete the restoration work.
Externally we maintained the character of our Victorian school for future generations to appreciate, whilst inside we created the rooms and facilities we all enjoy today.
The main room is our lecture theatre, with comfortable seating for in excess of 100 members, most chairs having a writing table for the taking of notes. The surrounding walls are covered with exhibition boards that continuingly display some of the best UK photography.
A large stage makes sure that all members can see the visiting speaker. To enable people at the rear of the room to see a print lecture, we film the prints and beam them onto a large screen. We also have the facility to digitally project audio-visuals, as well as digital exhibition acceptances using the latest digital technology. For the film user we have a full slide AV and sound system installed.
Lounge and Bar
Alongside the air-conditioned lecture theatre is a large lounge with licensed bar, where members meet socially before and after the evening’s event. The lounge is also fitted out with exhibition boards that showcase visiting exhibitions, such as those from the Royal Photographic Society, the London Salon, Midphot and Mirage.
We have a fully equipped studio for portrait and still life work. This room is also fitted with exhibition boards, in order to double up as an additional exhibition room.
Our fully fitted dark room houses several enlargers. Here members can produce prints under instruction or use the facilities to work independently.
Our kitchens and catering team are very experienced in providing cooked lunches for those attending weekend workshops or seminars.
Our exhibition space extends across most of the Old School House and includes the reception area, bar area, lecture theatre, studio and all connecting spaces.
All our facilities and rooms can be accessed with ease by those with impeded mobility.