GBPS Programme 2017-2018
The display focuses on the stamps of Queen Victoria. There is a particular emphasis on stamps used on cover and postal history dominates the display. The Victorian era is such an interesting era to study: steam ships were taking over from sailing ships, the British Empire was dominating trade across the world and the political landscape of the globe was turbulent. All of these aspects are illustrated through covers bearing (nearly) every Queen Victoria stamp issue.
The display is broadly split into three sections: the Penny Black stamp, the embossed stamps, and the surface printed stamps. There are multiple examples of the earliest and latest known uses. Stamps and covers "used abroad" are shown and many stamp errors/varieties are displayed. Expect to see cholera slits, Charles Dickens, Preston, far-flung exotic ports, war, famine, the Blue Riband and lots of solicitors’ letters!
"My subject focuses on the postal history of the Penny Black rather than the adhesives themselves. That said, I shall spend a few moments reviewing the 11 plates, the first issued on 1 May 1840 (and first used on 6 May) and officially withdrawn in early 1842 although I shall show some rare examples of use through to 1844. In doing so I want to pay tribute to the feat of developing and printing the varied plates while at the same time introducing the Twopenny Blue and finally printing the Penny Red; the Mulready letter sheet, which Rowland Hill expected would be more popular than the adhesives but was withdrawn after only two months. Payment of universal postage was at last by weight rather than distance, and clearly shown by the use of adhesive stamps.
This brief introduction sets the scene for inevitable variations of the Black’s use. Postmasters were inundated with rules and regulations but many did not always have the right tools or knowledge to abide by them, in particular for provincial and island use in the UK. The presentation will move from the four London principal post offices and how mail was collected through the penny posts, and also by the overseas mail services. Examples are also included of the trial to move from the red to black Maltese Cross.
The provincial penny posts were superseded by Uniform Penny Post in 1840 but in practice the penny post offices and handstamps continued well into the 1850s and, coupled with travelling post offices, resulted in a collector’s paradise of this era. Provincial uses and in particular the UK islands produce considerable rarities. Some very late uses, including from Kirkwall, together with letters from the Scilly Isles and the Isle of Man. Mention is made of measures to prevent pilfering, propaganda seals, mourning post and the opportunities for advertising, finished with an examination of unusual postmarks, stampings and mail from overseas."
After briefly looking at other methods used at various times to expedite mail, the main part of the display will deal with the Post Office express and special delivery services available from the introduction of a widespread service in 1891 to the combination of special delivery and registration in 1993.
The display aims to explain how the service operated and developed over time, both through examples of letters posted within the UK and those sent to and from overseas, together with various related Post Office forms and notices. As complete a coverage as possible will be attempted but with particular emphasis on some aspects that are of special interest to Julian, such as express delivery in London on Sundays, the Railway Express and Railex services, express postcards, the operation of the service in wartime and what happened when things went awry for one reason or another.
The morning session will consist of a display from Ian Harvey FRPSL entitled Planning Machin Booklets, 1967 to 1980. Ian says that at this time, the objective of the Post Office was to create a new image and to make their product more useful and attractive to the public and, of course, to collectors. Also, it evolved into a more efficient production process.
For booklets, this meant new pictorial covers, invention of the Prestige book, creation of scarce stamps for booklet make-up, re-introduction of label advertising on panes, better paper and different gums. Then, Post Office counter books (we did not have retail outlets) changed from the beloved stitched to 'folder' books, an easier production with 'specials' for Christmas and Greetings. At the same time, greater emphasis was placed on vending booklets, originally only 2s or 10p, rapidly progressing to £2.
These and much other planning for the early Machin period will be shown with essays, trials, proofs and issued booklet material.
The afternoon session will be a display from husband and wife team Paul Bradshaw FRPSL & Judith Bradshaw. Paul will be showing Northamptonshire Postal History with pre-stamp covers from a number of small towns from the 18th century through to around 1850.
The afternoon session will be a display from husband and wife team Paul Bradshaw FRPSL & Judith Bradshaw. Judith will be showing a range of subjects: Southwold Postal History (right through until Southwold lost its postmark in 1972), Southwold Railway (showing railway stamps and stamps on cover from 1891 through to 1929) and Woodbridge Postal History (from the mid-1700s through to about 1900).
Our final meeting of 2017 will be on Wednesday 13th December. This will be the annual Stanley Gibbons Evening Reception from 6:00 p.m. at their premises, 399 Strand, London WCQR OLX. They are good hosts, providing a variety of food and drink as well as generous discounts on their stock on the night.
An invitation from Stanley Gibbons to the event was included within the Newsletter mailing. Please remember to RSVP (to SG, not the GBPS) in good time so they know how many people they are catering for.
Members are invited to bring up to two frames (of 16 sheets per frame) of material to show during the evening. Please dig out something to bring along, as it is a highlight of the evening to see a mix of material from as many members as possible.
The introduction of the Mulready envelope in 1840 was immediately ridiculed both in the press and by contemporary satirical magazines like Punch. The lowering of postal charges in 1840 and the development of suitable printing techniques enabled the use of the post to promote a cause, and thus initiated the publication of a series of Mulready caricatures by leading publishers of the time -- Fores, Southgate and Spooner in London and Menzies in Edinburgh.
The success of this campaign was demonstrated by the withdrawal of the Mulready envelope within two months of its introduction and this set the tone for the development and publication of pictorial envelopes to promote other campaigns. The display will include a broad range of these propaganda envelopes used in Great Britain and overseas and also show the variation of printing states of each design. A collection of this size, including more than 300 items, has not been seen together since the Robson Lowe Yates Collection sale in February 1949.
The display includes the 1844 Punch series of gummed wafers used as envelope seals, and envelopes to promote the successful campaign against the then Home Secretary Sir James Graham, who was responsible for the opening of mail to obtain intelligence. Further envelopes issued by the Anti-Corn Law League in 1842 and Free Trade envelopes by John Gadsby of Manchester provide the introduction to the broad series of envelopes issued during 1849—1855 for the causes promoted by Elihu Burritt, an American and gifted multi-linguist who was living in England in the mid-1840s.
After Elihu Burritt made a visit to Ireland in 1847 to see for himself the poverty caused by a series of potato crop failures (a letter describing his experiences is included in the display), he embarked upon a campaign for Ocean Penny Postage (OPP). This envisaged 1d for postage within the country of origin to the port of embarkation, 1d for the ocean crossing and 1d for postage within the destination country to the final location. This would reduce the cost from 1s for a letter from Great Britain to the USA to just 3d. This campaign was prompted by the large number of poor people who emigrated from Ireland to the USA and Canada in the hope of a better life, and who would never have been able to afford the cost of 1s to communicate with their relatives in the late 1840s and early 1850s. Elihu Burritt encouraged his friends in the publishing industry to support his campaign by producing envelopes to promote the cause.
The display will show the earliest used recorded OPP envelope produced by Charles Gilpin in London in 1849, and other designs published by Bradshaw (of train timetable fame) and Blacklock, Myers and James Valentine of Dundee. Valentine produced a series of envelopes for the Five Moral Reform Causes -- OPP, Peace, Universal Brotherhood, Anti-Slavery and Temperance. He also produced designs for Industry, to support the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition, and Civilisation of America, supporting the integration of the various nationalities immigrating into the USA.
Barnabas Bates, an American and close colleague of Burritt, was also instrumental in the OPP campaign in the USA and was behind the publication of an envelope in the USA under the auspices of the New York Cheap Postage Association. Examples of all these designs in many states are included in the display.
These causes were promoted not just in Great Britain but also in Europe and the USA, so the collection includes items used on both continents. A five-frame exhibit, selected from the collection, was awarded a Large Gold Medal at Stampex in February 2017, and was then selected for display at Brasilia in October 2017 where it was awarded a Gold Medal with Felicitations.
The display will focus on hand-painted illustrated covers, generally sent between friends and family, and is a display of the art rather than the stamps or postmarks. In fact, the majority of the stamps from the heydays of hand-painted covers are simple Penny Lilacs. Sometimes the stamps were even trimmed or altered to fit a design and would be worthless off cover.
The range of talent varies from amateur to professional, and the reason behind the painting maybe obvious or obscure, but that's the fun in collecting these. Some show images based on events or politics of the time, others were influenced by Alice in Wonderland which was published in 1865 (these are amongst my favourites), but most are themes of interest to the friend or family. The display does not include pen & ink or printed covers, with a couple of exceptions, which keeps the scope manageable.
There are several well-known artists, Harry Culshaw to his friends and family, George Henry Edwards to his family. Hugh Rose to Mrs King-Harman (later Lady King-Harman), but most artists are unknown with correspondence described by the recipients name: Miss Budden, Mrs Rust, Miss Alty, Miss Martin. The two lay-downs are divided this way, the first with the lesser-known artists, the second with the well-known artists. A hand-out with images of select covers will be available.
The Wyon-Whiting embossed Essays produced during 1840 represent a pivotal point in the subsequent development of not only the form of the pre-stamped postal stationery produced in Great Britain, but they also had an influence on those issued worldwide. This display is concerned with the circumstances that propelled the stamps initially intended for stamping paper provided by the public into a primary role as a replacement for the ill-fated Mulready envelopes and letter sheets. The material presented includes sections on the existing use of embossing for revenue stamps; the technical capability of contemporary printers such as Charles Whiting; the development of the embossed designs used for the 1841 stamped envelopes; and the subsequent use of embossing for the 1847—54 adhesive stamps and later Victorian Post Office and stamped-to-order postal stationery.
When given an open subject choice for this presentation, I thought it a good opportunity to do something outside of the traditional or usual. Typically little exists to cover English letters prior to 'The Restoration' of 1660 and resultant introduction of the world's first handstamp the 'Bishop Mark' in April 1661. So, I would like to present and hopefully make interesting "English Postal History prior to the Bishop Mark".
The collection has been formed over a 25-year period and the display will include many unique items. Many smaller companies are amply represented, but the main meat is in the perfins and the uses of these stamps by the Great Western Railway, including Channel Islands Occupation-period usage, and by other larger companies.
Being a general collector of most things railway philatelic, this is a natural progression from my main reference collection of railway station postmarks of Great Britain and Ireland, which I displayed to the Royal Philatelic Society on 23 March last year (588 sheets). The perfin collection/display gives individual histories of the companies and shows all known stamps used by these companies. The display will show covers, postcards, documents and postal stationery including advertising envelopes and postcards. Every page has the Bill Pipe 'something added' signature.
This display traces the postal usage of the Seahorse stamps, Britain's longest-lasting high values. Starting with a 1914 parcel label to the USA; covers and more parcel labels will follow the development of, mainly, airmail services to the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond. Finally there will be a brief look at some examples of the use of overprinted stamps from several of the five countries that also used Seahorses.
The display will consist of a variety of postal history, social history, ephemera, fiscals, telegrams and items of general interest in the reign of King George VI.
This year Worpex is at Perdiswell Leisure Centre from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Please note this is a change of venue from that printed on the programme card and a different venue to the one for last year. The meeting room will be available from around 1:00pm, with the meeting proper starting at 1:30pm.
As last year, this will be a joint meeting with the Midlands (GB) Postal History Society. Those who attended last year can attest to this being a very entertaining and well-attended meeting. The meeting format remains the same, consisting of a series of single frame displays by members of the two societies split across two or possibly 3 lay-downs depending on time and material. Please bring along a frame of material to show (any subject ... it doesn’t have to relate to the Midlands or indeed be Postal History) - a frame being of 9 or 12 pages (three rows of three, but four A4 pages will just fit).
If you are planning on bringing a frame of material to show it would be helpful if you could let Andy Donaldson know, via email or phone, so we can more easily organise the running order of displays on the day. He can be contacted via email at or by phone on 020 8542 4226.
The presidential display this year will, to the great dismay of the membership, feature very few Maltese Crosses! It has the rather snappy title 'Post Office and Other Notices with Related Philatelic Material and Postal History from mid-1700s to mid-1900s.'
The Post Office published notices to inform or remind its staff or the public that certain procedures were in place or services were available. This display will illustrate a number of such notices and each will be the inspiration for a vignette linked to its content.
This will allow your president to show a wide range of philatelic and postal history material and to spout forth on a number of topics that he knows next to nothing about. These will include postage rates, issue of stamps, Christmas post, money order office, post office savings bank, letterboxes, maritime, Channel Islands WW2, early London notices, proofs and much more.
If you think this sounds ghastly, your president promises to make the display entertaining and respectfully reminds you that the alternative is to stay at home and watch the Royal wedding on television!
The display will cover the issued stamps and constant varieties with Coronation; Dark Colours; Light Colours; New Colours; Channel Islands + some covers and cards all represented. Graham will also be showing the overprints and some uses, World War II Postal History & Postage Dues from the period. However, for the "Difference" element of the title - you will have to come to the meeting to see this!
The format of the meeting will be:
10:00 Meet and coffee
10:30 First display. Probably GB postal history circa 1840, Peter Chadwick
11:00-11:15 Refill your coffee cups
11:30 Second display. Probably GB stamps of KGVI, Daphne McMillan
12:15 Third display. Probably modern GBPH, John Sussex
13:00 Buffet lunch
13:45 Business meeting
14:15 Participant displays. Please bring 12-24 sheets and talk for not more than 5 mins
15:00 Second round of participant displays
15:45 Third round of participant displays
16:30 End of meeting
Due to unfortunate family circumstances David Tett is unable to give his scheduled display. The morning session will now consist of the following displays:
WWII RAF POW Mail - Janet Bygate
Wilding Booklets – Proofs, Production and Packaging - Ian Harvey
The Late Use of the Maltese Cross - Howard Hughes
The format will be very similar to the Christmas event with refreshments laid on by Stanley Gibbons and members are invited to bring along a frame or two of material (any subject) to display (the frames being 12 sheets in 3 rows of 4).
Please bring something along, as it is a highlight of these evenings to see a mix of material from as many members as possible. If you are able to let me know, ahead of time, if you are bringing material that would help the evening run more smoothly but I will also be asking people on the night – so don’t worry about bringing material along at the last minute as the more the merrier.
You should receive an invitation card included as part of a GBPS mailing. Please RSVP (directly to Stanley Gibbons or Victoria Lajer rather than to me) in good time to ensure they cater for the right number of people. I would hate for the wine to run out before the end of the evening!