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The Southport
Stamp & Postcard
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Founded in 1930
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The Southport Stamp & Postcard Club

Archive for the 2008-2009 Season

The Calendar and Journal of our Meetings

 

Even though our previous years’ programmes are now history, it can be interesting to look back at the wide range of speakers and presentations which have both educated and entertained us.

 

Here is the Archive for 2008-2009

Calendar for the 2008-2009 Season

 

To make things clearer, we've colour coded the type of meeting:

 

[    ] Blue is for regular Members' Evenings,

[    ] Green is for Evenings where a visiting speaker will make a

       presentation, and

[    ] Red is for the AGM.

 

2nd September 2008  The Season opens with an evening for Members to display their collections of stamps and philatelic material relating to 'Former Countries of Africa.'

 

7th October 2008  This evening we welcome the first of our visiting Speakers for the year. Mr Arthur Roberts, now of the Marple PS but formerly the Secretary of our own Club, will tell us 'The British Postcard Story.'

 

4th November 2008  Our second visiting Speaker for the year is Mr P Williams, from the Crosby PS, who will be excavating a rich seam of material to do with 'Coal Mining.'

 

2nd December 2008  In 2007 the December meeting took the form of a Quiz evening against the Preston PS. This year, the evening will comprise: what? A surprise! Will it be a return match, or Call My Bluff, or Just a Minute? Only Ralph knows!

 

6th January 2009  Appropriately for the post-Christmas season, with its focus on matters spiritual, this evening will concentrate the minds of Members who will be addressing the subjects of 'Saints and Sinners.'

 

3rd February 2009  This evening we return to a theme which is ever the same and always different. Members will tell us and show us many interesting things relating to the letter 'J' and the letter 'P'

 

3rd March 2009  This evening we welcome the third visiting Speaker of our philatelic Season. Mr G Mellor, from the Stockport PS, will offer us a truly extra-terrestrial experience with his presentation on 'Space and the Apollo Project.'

 

7th April 2009  This is Competition Evening, when Members will compete for the John Winter Trophy, which is awarded for the best exhibit of stamps and philatelic material forming a Thematic Collection.

 

5th May 2009  The AGM. Not just the AGM but also the Club Auction, the success of which will decide whether or not we need to change the subscription for next year! Come equipped with things to sell, and cash to buy. (And if you aren't at the meeting you may find yourself on the Committee next year...)

 

2nd June 2009  The final meeting of the season revisits one of the most popular subjects on our calendar: A Slice of Postcard Pie is just right for summer. Now where did I put the cream...?

Journal for the 2008-2009 Season

A Narrative Account of our Season

2nd June 2009

 

The final meeting of the 2008-9 season featured another slice of Postcard Pie, with strawberries and clotted cream, No? Oh, well!

Notwithstanding that particular matter, Mr Johnson took us on a nostalgic tour of some of Southport’s former tourist attractions such as the Lagoon, with the swimming and boating lakes, Peter Pan’s Pool, and the Land of the Little People. We were reminded of the story that many of the attractions in the Land of the Little People had been made from timber salvaged from the floor of the ballroom of the old Palace Hotel in Birkdale.

Moving further afield, Miss Taylor took us down to Cornwall to look at some of the artistic achievements of the St Ives school of painters, some of whom painted scenes of St Ives, others painted in a distinctive school style. Mr Moss offered us a complete change, with a range of cars from the US: Buick, Pontiac and so on, but then introduced some cards featuring real cars – Rolls Royces from the Beaulieu collection. We attended the opening of the Mersey Tunnel (so did my grandfather, but he wasn’t on the card!) and travelled down a number of local roads in Southport and Ormskirk before being introduced to Mr Moss’s family’s first car – an Austin Cambridge.

Liverpool remained the theme for Mr Hyde, who presented a charming set of pen and ink sketches dating from the early 80s, while Mr Kipps took us to Lynton and Lynmouth to enjoy a ride on the Cliff Railway. Mr Stuttard concluded the evening with an eclectic collection of Isle of Man cards: humorous, transport, airmail, nautical, equine, rotatory (the Laxey Wheel) and peripatetic (walks around the Island)

On which note, we adjourned for the summer.

7th April 2009

 

This evening saw the competition for the John Winter Trophy for exhibitions of twelve pages of Thematic material. Four members of the Club submitted entries. Mr Stuttard gave a presentation on the Philatelic Congress of 1949 which was held in Southport, though under the aegis of the Manchester society. Mr Parkin featured the former Railway companies, the age of steam, and railway anniversaries. Mr Koller treated us to an extensive review of owls of the world, including a number unfamiliar to these shores, while the Ven Colin Bedford developed the theme of ‘Air Anniversaries’ and exhibited a number of celebrity autographs.

Having closely examined the displays, the members of the Club scored each according to the standards set out in the competition rules. The result was a win for Mr Koller who now holds the trophy for three years.

5th May 2009

 

May is the month when we all gather together to set the scene for the next year. The Club’s officers are nominated, and voted upon, and the subscription set. The theme for this year seems to be stability. All of the existing officers were happy to continue, no-one else was put forward, and we were all voted back in for another year. The subscription remains at £10, which at the rate of £1 per meeting remains quite modest. As an aside, we usually make ourselves a cup of tea, and nibble on a biscuit, part way through each evening; for this, we charge ourselves 20p. This is cheaper, adjusting for inflation, than the 4d which our predecessors paid in 1935!

The nitty gritty having been dealt with, Mr Hyde donned his auctioneer’s hat, and proceeded to bolster the Club’s funds; his success in doing this helps materially in keeping the subscription to its current modest level!

3rd February 2009

 

Each year we have an evening dedicated to members’ displays relating to two letters, and each year the letters change by one place in the alphabet. This year, the flying finger of fate pointed to ‘J’ and ‘P’

The first display featured some unusual and interesting correspondence between the Myanmar Military and an arms company in the United States. The connection with ‘J’ and ‘P’ was claimed because the display was given by Mr J Patterson! Mr Kipps followed with material relating to John Player’s sponsorship of the Belgrade Grand Prix, in Jugoslavia of course. Other items followed, from Jersey, Jordan and the Joint administration of Trieste.

Miss Taylor’s visit to the Azores featured some Jolly bright colours, items from Jugoslavia and Jersey, and from Palau, and concluding with a number of Picture Postcards of Paintings. Mr Johnson, already halfway there with his initial, showed items from his Isle of Man collection featuring Pottery, the Paras, Postman Pat, Pillar and Post boxes, Post Office vehicles, and Ploughing championships. Mr Koller produced a something or other of Penguins (what is the collective noun?) while Mr Parkin (also half way there!) concentrated on the ‘Js’ with Jaipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Jordan, Jind, and Jamaica before being pulled towards Poonch and Pitcairn. Mr Hyde turned back the clock with the Pro Juventute issues of Switzerland, and he was followed by the President of the Club, with a concentration on Products, Ports, Power Projects, Jamborees and Junk. Mr Stuttard promoted the Royal Peculiar of Jersey and the Ven. Colin Bedford concluded the evening with some stamps owned by Franklin D Roosevelt, a Presidential Philatelist. Wow!

3rd March 2009

 

Our third Guest Speaker for the year was Mr G Mellor from Stockport, whose presentation was, not to put too fine a point on it, out of this world. Space and the Apollo Project was an interest for Mr Mellor, whose own career encompassed some aspects of space flight engineering, but he noted that his work ended with diesel engines which, for some reason or other, haven’t yet made it into space….

We were treated to a review of the background to Apollo, with President Kennedy’s pledge to put a man on the moon (and return him safely to earth!) before the end of the 1960s, a pledge which was met, at enormous cost, in order to counter the prestige gained by the Soviet Union with its own space programme. Mr Mellor noted that a Saturn V rocket, on leaving the earth, was 300 feet high, and weighed 3,300 tons. The module which came back was about the size of a van, and weighed six tons. Technology can solve many problems, but there is also a test of appropriateness. NASA spent $5 million dollars developing a pen which would write at any angle in zero gravity; the Russians took a pencil.

Very few genuine philatelic items exist which are associated directly with the Apollo missions – the astronauts themselves have been reluctant to provide autographs - but there is a great deal of commemorative material produced at the time, and to mark the various anniversaries since; we were treated to some 300 sheets, of a collection which extends to around 1,500 sheets. Truly a cosmic achievement.

2nd December 2008

 

That coughs and sneezes spread diseases is well known, but the knowledge conveys little in the way of immunity. This month we were, collectively, not very well, and a rather reduced body of members took part in Mr Stuttard’s most imaginative version of ‘Just a Minute’ with overtones of ‘I’m a Philatelist, get me out of here.’ A considerable number of philatelic, para-philatelic and downright unclassifiable items were placed before members, who were then asked to speak on their chosen pieces for a minute, or half a minute, or however long they could manage. The end result proved to be very entertaining, and built up appropriate appetites for the mince pies and seasonal refreshments served afterwards.

6th January 2009

 

Rather appropriately for the post-Christmas period, the theme of the January meeting was ‘Saints and Sinners’ though it was left up to individual members to choose which of these terms to apply to which particular person. Miss Taylor started the proceedings with an explanation of the origins of the Christmas Carol ‘Silent Night’ written supposedly to commemorate the eating of the organ bellows in Ohlendorff by a hungry mouse. Was the mouse a saint for having been the cause of the writing of the Carol, or a sinner for having had a good meal first? Mr Marten came next, trying to arouse sympathy for the view that sinners hardly ever appear on stamps. Mr Kipps combined philately with another interest by showing a number of motoring related items from San Marino, the statelet founded in 301AD by Marinus of Rabb; the connection with vehicles being that the remains of ex-Saint Christopher (patron of travellers) were eventually moved to Rabb. Mr Parkin was very even handed in his view of good and evil, with stamps featuring the Vatican, the Disciples, St Anthony of Padua and St Paul facing off against Franz Joseph of Austria supported by Il Duce, Der Führer and El Caudillo. Mr Hyde convinced us of the sanctity of St Valentine, as interpreted for the French post office by Yves St Laurent, La Croix, and other designers, while Mr Stuttard concluded the evening with a display of stamp press testing labels from Switzerland. The connection? Oh,yes, they all showed the pass of St Gotthard.

7th October 2008

 

Our first visiting Speaker of the year was Mr Arthur Roberts, now from the Marple Philatelic Society, but formerly Secretary of our own Club in the late 1950s. Mr Roberts’ theme for the evening was ‘The Postcard Story’ which began in Austria in 1869. British postcards arrived on 1st October 1870, and we were privileged to see an FDC – a First Day Card. The first British postcards were purely for written correspondence sent inland; the attraction being the reduced postal rate of a halfpenny, rather than the penny charged for a letter. Cards for foreign destinations were introduced in 1875, at a rate of a penny farthing, or half the equivalent letter rate. Picture postcards were authorised in 1894, and very quickly became hugely popular. Millions of people, taking advantage of relatively cheap and easy railway transport, sent cards to friends and family from their holiday destinations, and collecting cards rapidly became widespread. The ‘golden age’ for picture postcards, and postcard collecting, was the decade before the first world war, though the war itself brought new kinds of cards – sweetheart cards, regimental cards, silk cards and, more sinisterly, the well-known service postcards with a limited choice of simple phrases to choose from: ‘I have been wounded but am doing well’

Progressive abolition of special conditions and rates for postcards has inevitably had an effect on the numbers sent, a card now costing the same as a letter, but the picture postcard remains extremely popular. Collectors of the future will have something to collect from our electronic age!

4th November 2008

 

It has to be said that, for the average person, coal is not an immediately interesting subject. Even I, as the grandson of a Lancashire miner, can see why this view might arise. But to ignore it is to miss out on a fascinating, shocking, thrilling, and –ultimately- warming story. Our second visiting Speaker of the year, Mr P Williams, opened his presentation with a brief account of what coal is, and how it came to be: the fossilised remnants of plants and trees some 300 million years old. We learned about the different grades of coal: lignite, or brown coal, running through anthracite, sea coal, and cannel – a material so fine as to have been used for sculpture! And we looked at the ways in which it has been extracted from the ground over the centuries.

Coal and coal mining has not featured much in British philately, but other countries have been rather more prolific – not surprisingly, much of the material has come from the former communist bloc, where the miner was turned into a rather romanticised hero of socialism, but also, surprisingly, from Japan.

The early extraction of coal was an intensely manual process and we saw a considerable number of postcards showing the gruelling conditions in which the miners worked. These took their toll of miners’ health, too, with both disease and accidents being serious problems. The philatelic and postcard material shown was complemented by other items not usually seen: labels for railway wagons, advertising cards, and price lists, all of which added considerable additional detail to the story we had heard.

2nd September 2008

 

Our Season started with a Members’ Evening with the theme of ‘Former Countries of Africa’ and our evening started with Mr Hyde who, by a whim of fortune, had brought with him a map of the African continent which enabled the less geographic among us to locate otherwise unknown names. Mr Hyde’s presentation included stamps from Basutoland, now Lesotho, but we never did find out why so many of these stamps featured an alligator, a creature which does not occur in that country.

Mr Marten, looking at the independence issues of Tanganyika, related how he came to know the man shown putting the new national flag on the summit of Kilimanjaro. Tanganyika was born out of German East Africa, and went on to unite with Zanzibar.

Rhodesia followed, with stories of trouble between the Shona and Matabele peoples, a history which is being repeated today with the struggles between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Mr Barker displayed some rather poignant correspondence dating from the Boer War, the letters from Prisoners of War reminding us that great events always involve ordinary and usually innocent people.

Mr Stuttard showed ‘labels from Katanga’ some of the 79 stamps and 12 postage dues issued during the period of Katanga’s secession from the Belgian Congo. Mr Parkin visited the Horn of Africa, and displayed stamps from British, French and Italian Somalilands, and the French Territory of the Affars and Issas, which has since become Djibouti. The evening closed with a visit to the Gold Coast, unfortunately without free samples, shown by Miss Taylor.

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