The West Coast Railway Postal Service encompasses large amounts of geography, and
considerable amounts of time, dating back to the early days of railways in the 1830s.
The first carriage of mail between Liverpool and Manchester took place in November
1830, extending to London in 1838 when a through route over the lines of the Liverpool
and Manchester Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway, and the Grand Junction
Railway was established. All through the network, feeder lines were established,
and eventually amalgamated with the trunk lines, until in 1846 the London and North
Western Railway came into being linking most of the important centres of population
in our region.
Travelling Post Offices, Sorting Tenders and Sorting Carriages followed, allowing
the processing of mail during the rail journey - a service which lasted until the
opening years of the 21st Century.
Taking the story in detail, with displays of postal history to match, Arthur Roberts
gave us a fascinating overview of the efforts which went into making overnight delivery
throughout the United Kingdom a reality.
The theme for the evening of Members’ displays was anything having a connection with
the letters ‘L’ and ‘N’ a breadth of scope which always results in something new
and interesting to examine.
Miss Taylor opened proceedings with a display of letter covers and notes on silk,
with interesting views of times past ranging from posting a letter in 1894 via the
Eton and Harrow Cricket Match to Brighton Beach in 1934. Mr Marten followed, with
an African Miscellany of lynx, leopards, and lizards, before a quick trip across
continents to include llamas. The associated stories included the tale of how Mr
Marten, during his time in East Africa, found himself separated from his Landrover
by a fortunately rather lazy lion.
Mr Hyde offered a totally different field of study - the NVI Machin head stamps of
Great Britain, including the hardly-ever-seen Europe and Worldwide stamps. Mr Bretherton
offered a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi from 1840, which of course was the founding
document of the modern nation of New Zealand, together with a wide ranging collection
of stamps from there. Mr Stuttard concluded the evening with a display of Railway
postcards - from the LNWR of course - issued between 1904 and 1909, representing
a good spread of the more than 900 different cards issued.
2nd November 2010 - 80th Anniversary Meeting
The 80th Anniversary meeting of the Club is special, not only because we can look
back on eighty years of an enjoyable and fulfilling hobby, but also because we have
taken the opportunity to look forward, to see how we can help the next generation
to appreciate the pleasure to be gained from philately in general.
The speaker for our meeting was Mrs Erene Grieve who gave us a fascinating insight
into ‘Stamps in Schools’ - a development programme which she started some years ago,
and which is supported by the British Postal Museum and Archive. Mrs Grieve is a
retired teacher, and lecturer in Developmental Psychology for the Open University.
Her first visits to schools were a great success with pupils and teachers, and convinced
her that the programme was worth pursuing. ‘Stamps in Schools’ has received two prestigious
Rowland Hill Awards from the British Philatelic Trust, and has featured on radio,
and in national and local newspapers.
Sponsorship by the BPMA has meant that Mrs Grieve has been enabled to travel to many
parts of the UK, her work often being supported by the local philatelic society.
Here in Southport, Mrs Grieve will be bringing her message to two local scholls,
where she will present information and materials with the hope that the interests
of the children will be captured!
For more information about the programme, click HERE to visit our Stamps4Kidz pages.
7th December 2010
The programme had originally listed two half-evening presentations. The first of
these was to have been by our former Secretary, Les Johnson, who intended to show
us something of the incredible achievements and bravery of those who had won the
Victoria Cross. Unfortunately, Mr Johnson’s health had started to deteriorate, and
he was unable to attend the meeting.
Instead, Mr Howard Smith, one of our newer members, entertained us with the story
of a chance meeting in the Postal Museum at Ottawa, where he met the grower of some
African Violets, subsequently used in a stamp design. He continued the contact on
his return to this country and has since received an autographed copy of the miniature
SSPC Member Mr J Robinson briefed us with the ongoing development of contacts with
local schools, following Erene Grieve’s visit last month. Packs of material are being
assembled which will be relevant to areas of study in the curriculum, for example,
World War II. The children seem to respond well to the idea of collecting small things,
and enjoy the use of the magnifying glass.
Our second scheduled presentation of the evening came from our Member Mr I Koller,
who treated us to a high-flying and wide-ranging display of stamps featuring Birds
of Prey, specifically Owls - certainly favourites of many people! There were no prizes,
and no right answers to the question of how many varieties of owl there are, world-wide:
151, 173 or 222 being possibly right!
4th January 2011
Anomalies, Oddities, and Curiosities were the subjects of tonight’s meeting, taking
a leaf out of the books of some of our predecessors who spent much time and effort
collecting nothing but.
Mr Thompson opened proceedings by reflecting on his early collecting days, and showed
stamps from the reign of Queen Victoria, and from New Zealand.
With a seasonal theme, Miss Taylor exhibited stamps featuring the Hebrew alphabet,
portraits, and Christmas silk covers.
Mr Hyde took a rather less comfortable route, showing us a series of postcards featuring
shipwrecks, off the coasts of Lundy Island and France.
Mr Patterson remained with the nautical theme, this time, the famous tin-can mail,
before venturing into the field of early Tonga self-adhesive stamps.
Mr Kipps showed a miscellany of covers with spelling mistakes, poor addressing, and
a variety of cachets.
Mr Stuttard rounded off the evening with a display of a forged booklet pane, assorted
postcards with printing erros, and a printer’s press sheet.
1st February 2011
The evening took the form of an excursion into the world of airmails and aerial items,
with Members’ own displays.
Mr Robinson opened proceedings, with Coronation Airmails, items relating to Charles
Lindbergh, and the ultimate in low-flying aircraft: the hovercraft.
Mr Koller took us across the Atlantic Ocean to the US of A, showing a collection
of many different air mail stickers and etiquettes, including World War II items
both with and without censorship marks.
Mr Stuttard’s first presentation featured the 1911 Aerial Post between London and
Windsor, which is recorded as the first UK airmail. We were also treated to an item
which would have been balloon post, were it not for the fact that the balloon burst!
Mr Patterson anticipated the arrival of Egypt into the news with a display of early
Egyptian Air Mail issues.
Mr Leather presented a completely unstructured display of first flight and interesting
flight covers, for example, an item from the flight where air-to-air refuelling was
Mr Hyde showed a range of stamps issued by the United Nations during the 1950s, when
new issues came only every few years, when postal rates changed. Mr Marten told us
of his experiences in the Seychelles, where he was instrumental in the construction
of the airport at Mahe, and the airstrip on Praline.
Mr Stuttard returned, to conclude the evening with a comprehensive display of first-
and last-day covers from the Railway Air Service, operated during the 1930s.
The Members of the Club observed a minute’s silence in memory of two Members, Mr
Les Johnson, and Mr George Mitchell, who had passed away since the last meeting.
We particularly remembered with thanks, the nearly fifty years’ service as Secretary,
given to the Club by Mr Johnson.
1st March 2011
The evening could have started with the welcome ‘Hello, hello, hello’ but it didn’t.
Instead, our Members welcomed Mr G W Pickles from the Preston Philatelic Society
who had come to tell us about ‘A Bobby’s Hobby’ which, of course, related to material
concerning the Police Forces throughout the country.
Early material commenced with an autograph of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan
Police. We then moved on to a letter issued in connection with the detention of a
vagrant, and a number of covers addressed to now-defunct police forces. The use of
the term ‘On Police Service’ was noted, but this did not appear to warrant (!) any
special form of postal treatment. We learned, too, about police matters past and
present - the fact that the Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London are card-carrying
Special Constables in the Metropolitan Police! Matters philatelical surfaced once
again in the shape of the barred cancellation known now as a ‘Madeleine Smith’ as
the type was introduced following some fairly pointed comments about the lack of
information conveyed by postmarks, made by the judge in a famous murder trial.
On the international stage, we saw a letter sent from the office of Joseph Fouché,
Napoleon Bonaparte’s Minister of Police, and some Opium Growers’ Water Tax stamps
Pride of place had to go, though, to an original copy of the Police News, reporting
the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Truly a ripping presentation!
The Competition Meeting usually brings out material of interest, partly because the
disciplines of the the Competition rules mean that it has to be carefully laid out,
described, mounted, and so on. This year we were competing for the Leonard Rimmer
Trophy, one of the three trophies in our cycle of competitions.
The John Rimmer Trophy is awarded to an exhibit of nine pages, on any philatelic
subject except for thematic collections and displays. The entries were judged by
the Members of the Club on the basis of points awarded in four categories:
Arrangement and Mounting
Condition of the material exhibited
Philatelic knowledge displayed
On the basis of these four, the trophy was awarded this year to Mr Ralph Stuttard
3rd May 2011
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!
Calendar for the 2010-2011 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.
7th September 2010 The Season opens with our first Guest Speaker of the year. Mr
Arthur Roberts, who was the Secretary of our Club from 1957 to 1960, will be keeping
us on track and giving us his presentation on ‘The West Coast Railway Postal Service.’
5th October 2010 This evening is the first of our Members' Evenings for the year.
The theme is entirely open, but there must be some connection with the letters 'L'
and 'N' It is worth noting that in previous years there has been considerable ingenuity
shown in developing these connections!
2nd November 2010 80th ANNIVERSARY MEETING
We are frequently asked questions about stamps, but there is one question which we
often ask ourselves: what is the future for philately? Are young people today interested
in stamp collecting? For our Club’s 80th Anniversary Meeting we have invited Erene
Grieve, from the Association of British Philatelic Societies, to tell us about the
‘Stamps for Schools’ programme of presenting stamp collecting to youngsters as a
fascinating and rewarding alternative to computer games
7th December 2010 We will be doubly impressed this evening as two of our members
will be making presentations. Mr Ian Koller will swoop down with ‘Owls’ and our immediate
past Secretary Mr Les Johnson will be mentioned in dispatches with a review of the
4th January 2011 The January meeting is one of those when we can really express
ourselves, with Members’ Displays featuring Anomalies, Oddities and Curiosities!
1st February 2011 This evening we will be flying high, as the theme for our Members’
Displays is anything and everything to do with Airmails. Members and Guests are,
however, requested to park their Flying Machines outside.
1st March 2011 This evening we will welcome the third of the Season’s Guest Speakers.
There will be no police dramas but, instead, considerable interest, as Mr G W Pickles
from the City of Preston PS will reach for his notebook to explain ‘A Bobby’s Hobby.’
5th April 2011 COMPETITION EVENING
The Competition this year is for the Leonard Rimmer Trophy. Entries for this competition
should consist of nine sheets of anything to do with our hobby, except for Thematic
Collections and Displays.
3rd May 2011 THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Not just the AGM, but also the Club Auction, where the success of the sales can have
a marked effect on the subscription for the coming year!
7th June 2011 The final meeting of the Season is our Postcard Evening. The theme
this year is quite simple. We will follow the example set by the Leonard Rimmer Trophy
Competition: anything you like to do with postcards!
7th June 2011
This evening saw our annual excursion into the world of postcards, and the theme
matched the spec for the Leonard Rimmer Trophy, earlier in the year: anything goes!
The result was quite fascinating.
Mr Koller opened proceedings with a number of cards of birds, from St Kitts and Nauru,
featuring stamps with the same artwork. Miss Taylor continued the natural theme with
seascapes and seaside scenes in a variety of artistic styles from the 1920s to modern.
Mr Barker took us in a darker direction, with cards from Germany from the inflation
period to the third Reich.
Mr Robinson lightened the tone of the displays, with a range of cards showing water
features to be included in a waterproof frame as part of a water feature. Mr Stuttard’s
first display was of original and reproduction cards of Southport, including a range
of early novelty cards. Mr Leather also showed some novelties, including several
from the first world war period.
Mr Kipps took us on a motorised journey through Australia by Holden car, before transferring
to the cult car from Sweden, the Volvo Amazon. He concluded with a Southport pub
crawl, but unfortunately left the rest of us behind.
The evening closed with a second display from Mr Stuttard, commencing with large
cards featuring railway material, before moving to cards which had been included
in PO Presentation packs. His final theme was the cartoon cards from Bamforth’s,
on various scatalogical themes, over which we will draw a discreet veil.
All-in-all, a worthy close to our season.
Archive for the 2010-2011 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 2010-2011
To read the narrative Journal for any meeting, just click, and we will take you directly