News Archive: 2013

10th December 2013 - Seasonal Displays and Christmas Social

Brian Pugsley opened the meeting with the announcement of a "Thinking of you" card for Pam and Tex Harwood, that all were invited to sign, and following a report of Alec Bunting, all agreed that Brian should provide a similar card to Alec, suitably endorsed on behalf of all the members.

Mark Bailey began the seasonal displays with Christmas stamps from Guernsey, Christmas Island and the Isle of Man (including official Christmas cards from the Isle of Man Postal Authority) and a UK Christmas Airletter. He also showed the five stamps issued by Royal Mail in 1989 to commemorate both Christmas and the 800th Anniversary of Ely Cathedral. Four of these were 'semi-postal', as a charity surcharge (of 1p) was added to the price of the stamp. He ended his display with 5 sheets of GB Christmas stamps spanning the 1960s to 1980s, as a competition for the members to identify the years in which they were issued. A number of members had a go at this, and the 3 with the most correct answers won Christmas covers. Well done to Roger Sammons who scored 80%, Chris Wootton (second) and Alan Kane (third).

Peter Alford followed with Post and Go stamps and the 2013 Christmas issue on covers. Chris Wootton presented a selection of South African stamps, in honour of the late Nelson Mandela.

Alan Kane showed us Northern Ireland Christmas slogan cancels from 1943 to the early 2000s, mostly from Belfast, but with a range of other towns represented. Michael Curling displayed some Christmas cards from the 19th century featuring Ferns

Derek Steele showed a letter posted and cancelled on Christmas Day to a Scottish solicitor, who endorsed that he had replied on Boxing Day. Roger Sammons displayed an attractive selection of 1981 Christmas issues from around the World.

Finally, Trevor Cornford shared with us the correspondence of Lily Goodwin, a governess in the Russian city of Taganrog during the latter days of the Tsars. She noted that the Russian Christmas was on 6th January (they had not changed their calendar at that time). Interestingly, none of the cards bore Christmas images. He ended his display with a Christmas cover from Iraq and a Christmas message postcard.

The meeting ended with a splendid buffet that had been organised by Alwyn Lowe and Marianne Murray, to whom all were grateful.

26th November 2013 - Sports including the Olympic Games

18 members enjoyed the following material displayed on the general topic of Sports including the Olympic Games:

Michael Curling - A selection of historic postcards with a sport-related theme, including bull-baiting, fox hunting, cricket matches and the Wokingham swimming baths.

Alwyn Lowe - Stamps, chiefly from Monaco, concerning the Olympics in London, Moscow and Atlanta, plus football and other sports.

Dennis Proctor - Souvenir sheets issued by Germany for the 1938 Olympics and stamps issued to raise money for the German Sports Aid Foundation.

Trevor Cornford - Historic postcards featuring skiing competitions during Antarctic expeditions, mountain climbing and pyramid climbing.

Mark Bailey - Essays for the stamps issued to raise money for the German Sports Aid Foundation.

David Gerken - A miscellany of sports-related commemorative covers.

Alan Kane - Souvenir covers for the California Police Olympics, first held in 1967.

Derek Steele - Canadian and Czechoslovakian sports stamps.

The members voted for the Best Display of the Evening, for which the prize was awarded to Michael, with Alwyn in second place and Dennis third. Brian Pugsley thanked everyone for displaying such diverse material.

22nd October 2013 - The 1937 Coronation - Richard Berry

1937 Coronation Great Britain

The assembled members were treated to a display by Richard Berry of material relating to the Coronation of King George VI on 12th May 1937.

Richard is a member of the King George VI Collectors Society and the Royal Philatelic Society London, and he was accompanied at the meeting by his wife and Robin Davis, another collector of King George VI stamps.

The display began with a selection of ephemera relating to the death of King George V and the short reign and abdication of King Edward VIII. The stamps for the Coronation were introduced with a complete set of Specimens of the British Empire Omnibus issue. This was followed by a detailed study of the single 1½d stamp issued by Great Britain, and further studies of the issues for Nauru, Papua and New Guinea.

1937 Coronation New Guinea

Australia did not issue special stamps to mark the occasion, but the high value ‘Robes’ definitive issue was considered an adequate tribute.

    Australian stamp

Newfoundland 1937 Coronation set

The first half of the display concluded with a detailed study of the relatively long set of stamps issued by Newfoundland.

Continuing in the same style as the first, the second half began with items of ephemera from events related to the Coronation, including a card concerning a Coronation Cruise, a Thunderstorm Card for Coronation Day and material about the Spithead Review. The stamps began with a study of the issues for New Zealand and its Dependencies, and covers were displayed from Pitcairn Island, Western Samoa and the Mandated Territory of Palestine. The focus then switched to countries in Southern Africa, with studies of the issues of South-West Africa, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia.

1937 Coronation Southern Rhodesia

1937 Coronation Falkland Islands   1937 Coronation Plate Number

The next section showed the differences in the output of the two printers used for the Crown Colonies issues, with an explanation of how to tell their work apart. We also saw some plate numbers, which are very elusive, and then some Ceylon booklets as well as many of the stamp varieties that are illustrated in the reference book for the issue by Douglas Armstrong.

The display closed with a range of relevant Cinderellas, some special covers prepared for the occasion and other related items including crash covers, a Pigeon Mail cover and some Antipodean First Flight envelopes.

Brian Pugsley thanked Richard for his excellent display and wondered how some of the items might find their way in to his King George VI collection!

Thames Valley & District Philatelic Federation 16-sheet Competition 2013

The Society provided entries to this year's Thames Valley & District Philatelic Federation 16-sheet competition that was judged mid-October. The results of our members were as follows:

Postal History Class - First - Eric Holmes, Gibraltar Instructional Markings.
Aerophilately Class - Second - David Gerken, British Inland Airmails April 1933 to April 1935.

Congratulations to Eric and David, who were awarded certificates.

8th October 2013 - The Colour Yellow

The topic for our meeting was the colour yellow, but as yellow stamps are not common in some countries, some members rose to this challenge and interpreted the topic liberally, to provide an interesting evening's displays. Eric Holmes found there were no yellow stamps from Gibraltar, but, after some thought, he decided that "Yellow Fever" was close enough, and he showed us a small collection of disinfected covers.

Dennis Proctor was able to find several yellow German stamps in his collection, and these were supplemented by some with at least a trace of yellow in them.

Michael Curling showed a selection of postage and revenue stamps of a yellow or yellowish hue. He followed these with a sheet of Tibetan stamps that was definitely yellow, though it was hard to see the design, and a stationery cover with an embossed yellow stamp.

Patrick Reid showed us a frame of the Tasmania 1899-1912 4d Pictorial depicting Russell Falls, which comes in different shades closely related to yellow, such as yellow-brown, straw, and brownish yellow. The material included an essay, a proof and a Specimen.

Trevor Cornford brought a range of material related to Antarctic and Arctic Explorers, and there was some yellow in a few of the stamps.

Tasmania 4d Tasmania 4d Yellow-brown 4d Pictorial

Finally, Roger Sammons displayed some Faeroe Islands stamps including those with yellow in the design.

Brian Pugsley thanked all those who had brought material, which showed the breadth of collecting interests in the Society.

10th September 2013 - Another Helping of Irish Stew - Peter Wood

Peter Wood, the Southern area secretary of the Irish Philatelic Circle and a member of the Cinderella Stamp Club, the British Thematic Association, the Royal Philatelic Society London and the National Philatelic Society, travelled from London to Wokingham to serve up another helping of Irish Stew, consisting of four main ingredients. These were Irish Meter Marks, Irish Airmails, Irish Railways and Irish Cinderellas, and he presented 45 sheets on each of these subjects, dividing the evening's display into four quarters.

Peter explained the physical properties and mechanism for the meter marks. He showed some Specimen Irish meter marks that had been sent to a Middle Eastern postal administration. He displayed examples of Neopost, Pitney-Bowes and Universal Midget and Frankopost meter marks from a number of the main towns and cities in Ireland. These included several envelopes bearing multiple strikes of meter franks to make the correct rate.

The first Irish airmail dated from June 1919 when British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight. In what was also the first transatlantic airmail flight, they flew a modified World War I Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. Peter also showed airmail from the 1920s flown between Galway and Croydon, Zeppelin-carried mail flown from Galway to Berlin, airgraphs, mail carried by the Railway Air Services to and from Belfast, a cover flown to Dublin from Brooklyn, New York by Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan on July 17-18 1938, some Japanese POW mail that was in an aircraft that crashed in Ireland, and Concorde covers to Shannon and Belfast.

Peter's display of Irish railway material began with an item of mail from 1850 with a seal on the back showing it had been carried in a steam locomotive. The display then moved on to items sorted and cancelled aboard the various TPOs in Ireland, as well as a selection of railway letter stamps and parcel stamps, including some for large market baskets, and parcel labels from the Great Southern Railways Omnibus Service in Cork.

The final quarter of the display was a large and colourful helping of Cinderella items, specifically year-dated labels, poster stamps and publicity labels resembling stamps. These were for various events, exhibitions and shows, including publicity labels for annual dog, horse and agricultural shows such as the event organised by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society that is held at Balmoral Park, Belfast.

Chairman Brian Pugsley thanked Peter for presenting such a diverse assemblage of interesting items.

27th August 2013 - Airmails and Air Letters

Members entertained each other with a wide range of contributions on the general topic of Airmails and Air Letters, with the following material displayed:

Peter Alford - UK Air Letters and Aerogrammes.

Eric Holmes - Gibraltar Aerogrammes.

Mark Bailey - A worldwide selection of airmail stamps, some etiquettes and stationery, plus transatlantic airmail carried aboard the Yankee Clipper 1939-1943.

Patrick Reid - A broad selection of taxed airmail covers from New South Wales to a number of different destinations, showing a wide range of Tax Marks.

Trevor Cornford - Some Hong Kong and Vietnamese airmails, plus local material including a picture postcard of the Wokingham Whale (a model airship).

Alan Kane - A selection of airmail material from his Family, Sandhurst, Police and Northern Ireland collections.

Michael Curling - A further selection of local material including, coincidentally, another postcard of the Wokingham Whale.

David Gerken - A favourite Zeppelin cover and material relating to GB internal airmails from the 1930s including the Great Western Railway Air Service.

Chris Rayner - Airmail stamps of the United States of America from 1941 onwards.

Derek Steele - A range of Newfoundland airmail material, including some bogus and forged items.

Eric Harris - The 1929 SCADTA issue of Colombia and its use on commercial covers.

Chris Wootton - Some airmail covers from French Polynesia to the UK, from a charity lot.

Brian Pugsley thanked all who had brought material and complimented them on its diversity.

13th August 2013 - Visit from the Croydon Philatelic Society

Around 20 of our members were entertained by two former Presidents of the Croydon Philatelic Society, a 'return fixture' after our visit there in June 2011.

Dr Christopher Board OBE gave us a very thorough and interesting display on the 2½d stamp issued on Friday 4th November 1910 to commemorate the formation of the Union of South Africa. He covered the origins, development and uses of the stamp, including on covers with high frankings, together with a short philatelic section at the end covering the relevant 50th and 100th Anniversaries. He showed how politics was important in the development of the stamp, and illustrated the story with relevant non-philatelic material.

First design

      First design

Final design

      Final design

Paris Letter

The second display was presented by Christopher Hitchen, describing The Paris Post to 1876. The earliest item shown was from 1520, and there was a good representative selection of material from the late 1700s. We were treated to a clear, straightforward explanation of how the postal system developed, with the offices being centralised and decentralised more than once. The material was related to historical events, including the siege of Paris 1870-1871 (albeit briefly, as that is a vast subject in its own right), and examples were shown of Printed Matter rates, the use of the Dead Letter Office and a range of instructional markings.

Chairman Brian Pugsley thanked them for their excellent displays, both of which represented the fruits of considerable research, and presented both individual certificates and a Society certificate.

Notes on the 2013 Annual General Meeting

At this year's Annual General Meeting, the Chairman resigned and became the Society's President, resulting in other Officers also changing. In addition, the Honorary Membership Secretary resigned, and this provides us with the following changes to the Officers for the coming year:

President: Alwyn Lowe
Chairman: Brian Pugsley
Deputy Chairman: Mark Bailey
Honorary Membership Secretary: Marianne Murray

Refer to the list of Society Officers and Committee members.

The Packet Secretary mentioned that obtaining material for boxes was continuing to be difficult, and he would be happy to receive stamps, etc. for the boxes, or be put in touch with any vendors wishing to sell items in our circuit.

Our membership numbers for the year stand at 91, being a little less than the previous year, and new members are as ever very welcome.

9th July 2013 - The Post Office Went to War - Christine Earle

Christine Earle provided an extensive look at the way in which the General Post Office worked hard to deliver a great many types of written and printed communications during World War 2. At the start of the war, the GPO lost one-third of its workforce to form the Royal Engineers Postal Service, whilst, with users encouraged to forego telephones to leave them free for emergency services and the government sending information to every house in the country, mail volumes rose ten-fold.

Christine is a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and a renowned thematic stamp collector. Her Post Office Went to War collection comprises a wealth of supporting material including GPO notices, ration books and saving stamps, as well as relevant items of postal history, making this an outstanding display of social philately.

25th June 2013 - From St. Petersburg With Love - Emily Woodhams-Beazeley

In a talk and display spanning from before the Russian Revolution to the end of World War 2, Emily presented postcards, stamps, envelopes, letters, and photographs, the majority of which are from the extensive correspondence between her great-grandmother Clara Hadfield (who attended boarding school in England) and her great-great-grandfather Joseph Hadfield in St. Petersburg. The cards sent from Russia provide a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating insight into life there during this turbulent period.

Nevsky Thread Manufacturing Company's Mill

The mill of the Nevsky Thread Manufacturing Company in St. Petersburg, taken over by J. & P. Coats.

Joseph Hadfield was manager and general overseer of the J. & P. Coats Cotton Mill that was set up in St. Petersburg in 1889. J. & P. Coats Ltd was a British multinational firm, with headquarters in Paisley, Scotland, which manufactured cotton thread. Despite the unstable political situation that developed in Russia, Coats' mills performed better than their competitors, and they accounted for some 90 percent of the national demand for cotton thread by the time they were confiscated and nationalised without compensation during the Revolution in 1917. By March 1918 all the British workers of the company's mills were forced to leave Russia. We were treated to a fascinating display based on a family archive of material, with tantalising suggestions of what other items might exist, and this gave us a window into the privileged world of the entrepreneurs who were developing businesses in the "New Russia" at the time of the Tsars.

The enthusiasm generated because of Emily's family connection came across very clearly and she painted a vivid picture of how things were before the Revolution. The material covered not only St. Petersburg, as being a wealthy family meant that the maturing adults went on the "Grand Tour" and there was also material relating to a visit to America. Joseph moved with his family to Mexico to try his luck in gold mining, though this proved to be a failure. In the final part of her talk, Emily explained that Clara's husband, Victor Small, seems to have been involved in intelligence work during both the World Wars. A highlight of this section was a hand-drawn map of the Murmansk area based on his travels. Our Chairman Alwyn Lowe gave the Vote of Thanks, and complimented Emily on a different and fascinating description of a vanished age.

Saturday 15th June 2013 - Meeting at CABI, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

Members of the Wokingham & District Philatelic Society attended a meeting of the Thames Valley & District Philatelic Federation held in conjunction with a regional meeting of the Royal Philatelic Society, London (RPSL). This was organised by Patrick Reid and Dane Garrod, and took place at the premises of CABI in Wallingford.

The key note displays were from Birthe and Chris King (both Fellows of the RPSL), on "Denmark - Conscience, Conflict & Camps 1932-1949", and "Schleswig: From Danish Duchy to Prussian province - early mail to 1867". After a tasty lunch, everyone gathered for the group photograph, and then during the afternoon some 20 members from the various philatelic societies displayed one or two frames of material. All in all, a most interesting, enjoyable and varied meeting.

CABI 2013 Meeting: Group photograph

Members of the philatelic societies gathered at CABI (photograph courtesy of Anthony Simmonds)

Mark Bailey: 1d Revenues 1853-1881

Mark Bailey, with his display of British 1d revenue stamps 1853-1881
(photograph by Anthony Simmonds)

11th June 2013 - Competition Results

Congratulations to the winners in this year's competition:

Trevor Cornford wins the WDPS Advanced Trophy

Trevor Cornford, receiving the WDPS Advanced Trophy from Chairman Alwyn Lowe,
for Shackleton's Voyage, Endurance 1914 to 1916.

Eric Holmes wins the Peter Graham Cup for Postal History

Alwyn Lowe presenting the Peter Graham Cup for Postal History to Eric Holmes
for Gibraltar Instructional Handstamps.

Alwyn Lowe wins the WDPS Thematic Trophy

Alwyn Lowe, receiving the WDPS Thematic Trophy from Competition Secretary Derek Steele,
for The Centenary of the Penny Black.

Many thanks to Tony Stanford and Anthony Simmonds for judging the entries, and to Anthony Simmonds for supplying these photographs.

14th May 2013 - Captain Scott's Last Antarctic Expedition - Trevor Cornford

Trevor is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Chairman of the Polar Postal History Society of Great Britain, and his postcards and postal history relating to Antarctic voyages and expeditions have won prizes in our Society's competitions. On 14th May he treated our members to an amazing insight into Captain Scott's Last Antarctic Expedition, subtitled "Triumph and Tragedy." It is very fitting in 2013 that he presented this material about the expedition that ended in 1913. The array of material and letters that Trevor has gathered from all the participants in the expedition is astonishing, and includes private letters from Scott, Bowers, Evans, Oates and Wilson, as well as a letter from Amundsen after he had beaten Scott to the South Pole.

9th April 2013 - Your Very Loving Madeline - Dane Garrod

Dane Garrod has pieced together the philatelic and postal history trail of a love story spanning the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Madeline Clifton, widowed at 32 and left with 7 children, later married a man 10 years her junior.

Letter to Lady Drummond

Sir James Hamlyn Williams Williams-Drummond 4th Bart. (1857-1913) owned an estimated 9,282 acres in Carmarthenshire in 1873. In January 1889 he married Madeline Diana Elizabeth Agnew, eldest child of Sir Andrew Agnew, Bart. of Lochnaw Castle. She had first been married at the age of 19 to Thomas Henry Clifton of Lytham Hall, who died when he was 35.

Dane's illustrated talk took in military conflicts, overseas travel and relations with the high society of the time through letters, telegrams, cards, diaries, and photographs.

A cover and compliments slip from the Lord Chamberlain at St. James's Palace sent to Lady Drummond at Edwinsford, Carmarthenshire.

26th March 2013 - Tramways - Keith Downing

Keith Downing, a long-time collector of the theme of Railways and Trams, provided a most enjoyable evening of philatelic material relating to Tramways. The display began with horse drawn trams, which were first used to convey coal from the mines, followed by the first trams in the United States of America. Keith's talk moved on to trams used in Great Britain, France, Germany and other European countries, as well as numerous former colonies and many countries elsewhere around the world, where they were used as a convenient and efficient solution to the mass movement of people. As well as horse drawn trams, the subject matter covered man-pulled trams, steam-driven trams, electric trams and cable-driven trams. The second half of the display included material relating to the special uses trams have been employed for, such as serving as mobile libraries and post offices. This hugely impressive display and talk amply illustrated the transition from the early, primitive forms of this transport into the sleek, sophisticated vehicles of the modern day, and encompassed not only stamps, postmarks and souvenir covers but also postal stationery and postal history.

Changes relating to our Website (14th March 2013)

Our previous webmaster, Stephen Gardner, who did a great job in setting up our website, has moved away from the Wokingham area and our new webmaster is Mark Bailey. We wish to thank Stephen for the many years that he has provided us with the website, and hope he continues to enjoy his philatelic interests in his new abode.

Mark has taken the opportunity of this handover from Stephen to review the website contents and discuss some suggested changes with several of the Society's Officers. As a result, a number of revisions have been made throughout the website, which is now hosted by a different company. The main changes are as follows:

  • The order of the items in the navigational panel on the left side of the pages has been changed to give more prominence to some items.

  • The scope of the News and Programme pages has been changed to just the current Society year, with older news and earlier programmes archived to separate pages.

  • The Library List has been updated (thanks to Chris and Malcolm for this).

  • Some additional Philatelic Links have been included.

  • The pages for the Stamp Quiz and the answers have been laid out slightly differently.

12th March 2013 - Postcard & Cinderella Competition

This year there were no entries in the "cinderellas" competition. However, there were 3 entries in the "postcards" competition, and these were judged by the members. The results are as follows:


1st Mark Bailey - Postcards relating to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

2nd Trevor Cornford - The Victoria Falls

3rd Michael Curling - The Royal Mint

After the competition, there was time for members' displays. Eric Holmes provided a comprehensive look at the Reply Coupons that had been used in Gibraltar over the years, including Imperial Reply Coupons, Commonwealth Reply Coupons and International Reply Coupons. Alan Kane had been unable to attend the previous meeting, so he showed chiefly Northern Ireland material relating to the number 1.

26th February 2013

This meeting was given over to our members providing displays on the subject of the number 1. We have not used a number as a display feature before but with a good turn out from the members, the evening was fully taken up. As is usual with a members' evening some stretched the concept of the number 1 to provide material, and encompassed "First" as well as "1". Thus amongst the many displays we had 1d surface printed fiscals from 1853 to 1881, GB 1st class booklets, the first stamp issued in Trinidad, and 1d stamps from Tasmania (plus some where the 1 had a 2 underneath it, below a line, a.k.a. ½d). It was good to see Ron Stone's first display, of some very interesting covers from the USA relating to masons.

22nd January 2013

The snow kept many people away, but twelve members were entertained by a selection of material that had been acquired in the previous 12 months.

Chris began with a dozen sheets of stamps from numerous countries including the USA, Thailand, the UK and Iraq, showing a contrast in styles and subject matter. Ivan displayed blocks of ½p, ½d and ¼d British and British Commonwealth stamps. Derek's material included some excellent Victorian and Edwardian stamps, plus some very obvious forgeries complete with watermarks printed on the back!

After some refreshments, Trevor showed some very interesting postcards and postal stationery cards illustrated with photographs by F.W. Sykes, all featuring and posted from the Victoria Falls, together with some wrappers from Rhodesia. Michael then displayed an eclectic mix of items chiefly with a local flavour, including correspondence cards from Sutton & Sons, seedsmen of Reading, and a hitherto unrecorded Wokingham skeleton postmark from June 1843.

Mark finished the evening's display with Jersey scenery stamps, a non-issued set of stamps from 1921 for the Mirdita Republic in northern Albania, a small Victorian envelope bearing the Thayer Street receiving house mark, and stamps issued in Hungary featuring their Holy Crown.

8th January 2013

The first meeting in January was well-attended, despite the wet weather and the roadworks. Our Chairman, Alwyn, treated us to an eclectic mix of stamps, colour trials, specimens, proofs, and covers from around the world. The connecting theme was that all the issues marked a centenary. Thus the range of subjects was extensive. Of particular note were issues relating to 100 years of membership of the UPU, the centenary of the ITU and of the RSPB. The display included less obvious subjects such as 100 years of electricity in Hong Kong. With such a broad collecting theme, Alwyn's display had something for everyone to enjoy.

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