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
 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
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
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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