The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society
A Brief History
Brian Clayton and Sandra Poole
The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society was founded at a meeting held in the Victoria Station Hotel, Nottingham, on Monday 10th November 1913. Six officers were elected and 15 other members were present. A letter reporting the facts was written by the elected Secretary/Treasurer and sent out the following day, inviting the recipient to join the society. The Society has run continuously since then, but not without some disruption and reduced programme content during the two World Wars. The early records relating to the Society (newspaper cuttings, minutes books, membership cards/programmes etc) are now held at the Nottingham Archives in Wilford Street.
At the inaugural meeting in 1913, the following were elected from an attendance of 55 persons:
Hon.President, H.L.Hayman, Esq., of the Birmingham & Herts. Philatelic Society
Hon. Vice Presidents: The Postmaster of Nottingham, The Mayor of Nottingham, etc.
President: W.V.Morten, F.R.P.S.L.
Vice President: L.O.Trivett, J.P.C.C.
Hon. Auditor: A.G.Mellors, F.C.A.
Hon. Treasurer & Secretary : F.D.Mellors.
Members: Messrs. Burton, Frank, Gisborne, Jessop, Leighton, Marshall, Mellors, Morten, Owbridge, Spendlove, Thacker, Trivett, Thompson, Turner & Webb.
The annual subscription was to be 5/- for the 1914 year session.
THE FIRST MEETING OF THE SOCIETY
A report from The Nottingham Guardian, 6 December 1913:
POSTAL RELICS: INTERESTING LECTURE IN NOTTINGHAM.
Some interesting exhibits were a feature of a lecture delivered to the Notts. Philatelic Society at the Victoria Station Hotel, Nottingham, last night. The lecturer was the president, Mr. W.V.Morten, and his topic was "The History of the Introduction of the First Postage Stamps of Great Britain, and of the Mulready Covers and Envelopes."
Mr. Morten touched upon the whole history of letter writing. One of the exhibits was an Assyrian letter dated 2,000 B.C., impressed on clay which was afterwards baked. The earliest letter, writte presumably on papyrus or grass, of which he had found any record was the death warrant sent from King David by Uriah the Hittite. Sir Brian Tuke was the first Postmaster-General in Great Britain, he being appointed by Henry VIII. The first postmark invented and used was in 1661. The first Act of Parliament (1664) printed in black letter was the first connected with the Post Office.
The lecturer traced the history of the post through the old roller wagon days, when the letters were illicitly conveyed by the carriers, to the day of mail coaches, and showed coloured prints of these, and portraits of the robbers who were executed when caught.
An item of local interest was the "Hey Bugle" used on the Nottingham to London mail. According to Mrs. Gilbert, John Middleton, the guard, always played the "Old Hundredth" when he neared St Peter's Church on a Sunday.
A Report from The Nottingham Daily Express, 6 December 1913:
Interesting Exhibits at Nottm. Meeting.
A FIRST GATHERING.
Though the collection of postage stamps is the hobby of a very large number of persons living in Nottingham and its surrounding district, till now there has been no special organisation in connection with that hobby to which they could belong. Last night, however, the first meeting of the Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society changed this state of affairs.
Starting with a membership of 55, many useful suggestions as to future usefulness were made at last night's gathering, which was held at the Victoria Station Hotel. It was decided, in the first place, to form a collection of forgeries, so that any member obtaining a stamp of which he was dubious could have easy access to a means by which he could either verify of dissipate his suspicions. Gifts were announced of books to form the nucleus of a philatelic library, so that members, young and old - for there is a well developed junior section - might accurately estimate the price of choice specimens they might chance to acquire. A collection taken to buy other volumes realised the handsome sum of £6 11s 6d.
It was announced that the society would, on December 19th, be granted the privilege of being shown over the Nottingham Post Office. Mr W.V.Morten had brought many articles from his fine collection not only of stamps but of many other objects directly or indirectly associated with postal history.
When other business had been concluded he read an explanatory paper on "The Introduction of the First Postage Stamps of Great Britain." One of Mr Morten's earliest relics is an Assyrian clay tablet 3,900 years old. Another very rare possession is a copy of a proclamation issued in the year 1654 concerning the first postal Act ever passed. There were only three copies left, stated Mr Morten, one was in the Bodlean Library at Oxford, another in the British Museum, and the third he had with him last night. A local relic was an old box in which the bugle blown on the Nottingham Mail coach was kept.
The lecturer then dealt with the custom of franking letters, and explained that the adoption of a portrait head on postage stamps was largely due to the fact that it was a most difficult thing to imitate.
A Report from The Nottingham Guardian, 13 December 1913:
THE NOTTS PHILATELIC SOCIETY
The first meeting of the Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society was well attended and the membership was increased to 55, including three ladies.
As an advantage to the members, for the purpose of comparison, it was decided to form a collection of forgeries. Numberous gifts of books to the library were announced, and various members contributed towards the purchase of standard works.
On 19 December 1913, members were shown over the Nottingham Telephone Exchange in George Street. Mr. Morton was the district manager of the telephone service. At that time, it is reported that 14,867,500 calls were dealt with annually- quite a number, bearing in mind that few people would have had personal telephones at that time.
Mr Hayman was the speaker at the third meeting, held three weeks after inauguration. The Nottingham Daily Express reported that Mr. Hayman was the Hon. Consul for Belgium in London. He had a Hungarian collection numbering just under 5,000 stamps and had won a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition the previous year. In the Nottingham Guardian report, he was described as one of the most distinguished philatelists in the country. Some of the continental papers had apparently expressed regret that the collection was not acquired by the Hungarian govt. Mr. Hayman also showed 100 rarities of different countries, one of which was the rarest shade of the one franc carmine on a cover addressed to Prince Napoleon, President of the French Republic at Les Tuileries. This exhibit also won a gold medal, in the rarities class, at the Paris Exhibition.
During the First World War, some members of the Society were serving in the Armed Forces and were accorded Honorary Membership for the duration of the War. They were sent a letter of Good Wishes, as recorded in The Nottingham Daily Express:
Send letter of Good Wishes to Comrades at the Front
Mr L.O.Trivett, the president, was in the chair last evening at the first meeting of the second session of the Notts. Philatelic Society, which was held at the Victoria Station Hotel, Nottingham. There was a very gratifying attendance of numbers, even though, as the chairman reminded the meeting, several of those who attended last year were now on active service. In this connection, also, Mr Trivett with regret, drew attention to the fact that a lecture on stamps of Australia and New Zealand, which was shortly to have been given by Lord Arthur Hay, could not now take place, his lordship having been killed in action.
A resolution of thanks to the retiring president, (Mr. W. V. Morton) having been recorded on the proposition of the chairman, the meeting decided to send a letter of good wishes to members servicng with the colours, and to elect them honorary members during the period of the war. It was further agreed that at each meeting of the session, a collection be taken for one or other of the war relief funds, subscriptions, in view of calls of a similar nature, being limited to a shilling.
The principal business of the evening was the lecture by Mr. W.H.M.Marsden, of Derby, on the subject "Obliterations on French Stamps". Mr. Marsden showed examples of the earliest obliterations, and followed them by others in use at later periods. He gave explanations of the reasons for the various alterations from time to time, and showed a number of obliterations of Army Post Offices, and others made on special occasions. An interesting part of the paper was the explanation of the use of French stamps in Consular Post Offices in different parts of the world, especially in the Turkish Empire, before stamps were available for international purposes. A number of specimens was also shown with the obliterations used on board packet boats carrying letters from ports to Consular Offices in other parts.
Mr F.D.Mellors exhibited some 100 envelopes and stamps used during the present war, and Mr.W.V.Morton showed some balloon post letters which were sent during the siege of Paris in 1870.
The visit of Leicester Philatelic Society on 8th January 1915 was soon to be followed by a visit to Derby Philatelic Society on 28th October 1915. A visit, in each direction, between these two societies became a regular feature of the Nottinghamshire Society's programme in its formative years. These exchange visits continued until well after World War II, except for the period of the War, presumably as a result of petrol rationing.
By 1916, the President, Mr W.Oakley, sent a letter asking the members to do all that they could to help to keep the Society together by attending the meetings on the first Friday night in each month.
The programme for 1916-17 included this brief report of the events and also refers to 14 members then 'servicng with the colours'. Sadly, corresponding reports for the following seasons included the names of those lost in action.
With the completion of last season the Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society closed a most successful year, the third since its inception. The society commenced the season with 67 members, Honary and Ordinary, and closed with 66; five members having resigned and four new members have been enroled.
It is interesting to report that 14 members of the society are servicng with the colours, including our late secretary, Mr. Woollatt.
During the past season, eight meetings have taken place at the Victoria Station Hotel and visits have been paid to the Derby Philatelic Society on 28th October 1915 and the Leicester Philatelic Society on 12th january 1916.
The Society opened the season by our late president, Mr F.D.Mellors, giving us a fine and complete display of "War Issues and Postmarks". Mr Mellors showed from the enemy's colonies the rare surcharged Anglo French occupations on the German Colonial stamps, and several varieties of Red Cross stamps, also pages of entires posted from Allied Internment Camps in Germany, Austria, Turkey, Holland etc., and from German prisoners in England, Japan and South Africa. Included in the collection were entires posted from all the battlefields and most of the large ships of war.
Included in the exhibits were some of the stamps used during the Crimean War of 1857. The rare 1893 Levant halfpenny vermillion surcharged, 40 paras and 80 paras on a fivepenny King Edward with a small 0 in 8o.
On 15th November an interesting collection of English, Russian and Roumanian Levant, the property of our Hon. President, Mr H.L.Hayman, was displayed.
The Derby Philatelic Society was entertained by our Society on 3rd December with a few gems from the collections of Messrs F.D.Mellors, W.Oakley, W.V.Morten and L.O.Trivett.
At the next meeting the Society was entertained by Mr L.J.Green, of London, with a very fine and complete collection of the early line engraved stamps of Great Britain.
Among many rarities, Mr Green displayed a dated copy of the 1d black used on 2nd May 1840, four days before the official date of issue, and a set of dated copies of the same stamp on entires from 6th May a840 to 5th May 1841 inclusive.
On 4th February the Leicester Philatelic Society paid us a visit and displays were given by Messrs. T.Edwards, F.B.Cooper, E.Charlesworth, A.H.Faulkes and W.Gadsby of that society.
At the following meeting, Mr Paine displayed a superb collection of Western Australia. The display was especially strong in the earlier issues in a full range of shades of both used and unused specimens. A fine variety of coloured postmarks were shown and the collection was greatly admired on account of the beautiful condition of the specimens.
On April 7th the final meeting, a joint display was given by Messrs. J.Langham and J.Nevin, who showed fine Colonial collections. Mr. Langham specialised in both used and unused and Mr.Nevin in used specimens.Both collections were greatly appreciated, many rare stamps were shown, and used specimens were in the finest condition.
The Society held an "Exhibition of Postage Stamps" in the City Art Museum, Nottingham Castle, during the period 5-11 January 1920. The event brought together many fine collections which competed for medals.
In November 1922, the Society held a competition for Junior stamp collectors which resulted in over 60 entries. Spurred on by the success of this, the Society held another competition in 1924, which was open to all scholars in the county. The subject of this competition was ‘What I learn from stamp collecting’ and winners in several classes were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. Also in 1924, a ‘Public Lantern’ lecture entitled ‘The Literary Side of Stamp Collecting’ was given at the Nottingham University College. In 1927, the Philatelic Congress of GB was held in Nottingham under the auspices of the Society, with Mr.Trivett in the Chair (a detailed report of the Congress appears below).
In 1939, extensive preparations were made for a public exhibition in Nottingham Castle to celebrate the centenary of Penny Postage on 6 May 1940, but owing to the outbreak of war, the castle was claimed for other purposes and the exhibition was cancelled. The Society's President at the time was Mr. James Nevin, FRPSL, one of the foremost collectors in the country. He held the office of President on five separate occasions between 1917 and 1952.
In November 2007, Lord Dearing visited the Society with a display of GB stamps 'QV to GV and More'. He was Deputy Chairman of the Post Office Corporation 1980-81 and Chairman 1981-87 and during those periods contributed significantly to the development of British stamp issues. Lord Dearing was Chancellor of the University of Nottingham from 1993 to 2001.
To mark the Centenary, on 6 December 2013, a special display was given by Ian Shaw. In the display, he showed many of the items which were featured in the first meeting on 5 December 1913.
Joint Meetings and Venues
The first Combined Autumnal Meeting of the Derby, Leicester, Loughborough and Nottinghamshire Societies was held on 17th September 1960 at The Priory Hotel, Nanpantan, Leicestershire. Since then, this annual event has become the Huston Memorial Trophy Competition and is held in turn at a venue chosen by each Society.
Other philatelic societies which have visited in the past, or have been visited, include (where the earliest known date is shown): Alfreton (1965-6), Birmingham (1962-3), Chesterfield (1949-50), Hinckley, Huddersfield, Insurance and Banking (1965-6), Lincoln (1959-60), Loughborough (1948-9), Mansfield (1948-9), Matlock, Newark (1935-6), Greater Nottingham Co-op (1968-9), Radcliffe-on-Trent, Sutton-in-Ashfield (1958-9), Worksop (1967-8). Annual visits are still maintained with Leicester, Loughborough and Alfreton societies.
Since the 1960s, the following meeting venues have been used in Nottingham: Victoria Hotel (1969-72), Albert Hall Institute (1972-84), Nottingham Society of Artists (from 1984). The Society has now completed an unbroken run of 30 years in association with the Nottingham Society of Artists, to which the Society is truly grateful.
The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society also enjoys an international connection with the North Shore Philatelic Society of Auckland and the Waikato Philatelic Society of Hamilton, both of New Zealand. In 1981,the Society was presented with a Maori wood carving, a ‘Tiki’, by the North Shore P.S. This carving is now awarded annually to the member who has competed successfully to provide the Society’s entry for the Huston Memorial Trophy Competition. The Society reciprocated by presenting the North Shore P.S. with a trophy formed from a slice of the Major Oak, with one of the Society’s silver medals inset. The trophy is inscribed ‘The Robin Hood Major Oak Trophy’ and is awarded annually to the presenter of the best 2-5 minute talk on any (philatelic) subject.
Currently, the Society comprises some 60 members from many different walks of life but with a common interest in the various aspects of philately. Meetings are held at the Nottingham Society of Artists, 71 Friar Lane Nottingham on Friday evenings, twice-monthly in the Winter and monthly during the Summer. The meetings are friendly and sociable, usually with an invited speaker showing part of his or her collection or sometimes society members showing items from their own collections. The Society also runs an Exchange Packet where members’ surplus material is circulated for others to purchase, and we continue to hold an annual auction at Ruddington (usually of some 450 lots) where members can also sell and/or acquire material.
14th Philatelic Congress of Great Britain: Nottingham, 1927
Sandra Poole reports: 'I recently attended a Cinderella Stamp Club meeting. The morning sessions were devoted to displays by visiting members of the Exhibition Study Group and these, despite my early misgivings, turned out to be extremely interesting. The afternoon displays were, as usual, provided by the hosts. When we have a specialist Society come to a meeting, our displays have to be on their speciality subject- obviously, ‘exhibitions’ in this case. It always amazes me that our members are able to rise to the occasion and produce some fine displays. One such (less surprising) was Francis Kiddle. He had brought along part of his collection on Congress, which he is donating to the Royal Philatelic Society, as he believes that it is the history of philately. And what is interesting to us is that one frame of it was devoted to the 14th Congress hosted by The Nottingham Philatelic Society in 1927, including the banquet invitation':
An invitation to the 1927 Congress Banquet at the Victoria Hotel, Nottingham, sent by the secretary C. H. Frettingham. He was later President, both in 1935-36 and 1943-44. He had a collection of Norway, which in 1958 was auctioned by Robson Lowe in 234 lots.
Prior to the banquet, a visit to the Nottingham Post Office had been arranged, and some details of the growth of postal activities in Nottingham were given to the delegates :
In 1766 one postman delivered and collected all the letters in Nottingham. These statistics were given for 1894 and 1926
1894 1926 Letters delivered in Nottingham (weekly) 448,275 1,160,688 Letters posted ( -ditto-) 599,278 996,370 Parcels delivered ( -ditto-) 5,864 23,123 Parcels posted ( -ditto-) 7,499 24,709
Value of stamps of all kinds sold in 1926 was £1,160,709. The total staff employed was over 800.
About 4000 telegrams were handled weekly, with a delivery of over 1000 in the Nottingham area on some weekdays. About 4000 letter bags and 1000 parcel bags were received and despatched daily.
POST EARLY ADVANTAGES: Post about mid-day all the postal matter you have ready to ensure early delivery. Avoid the "rush period" of 6-9pm. During that period 90,000 letters are posted compared with 48,000 before 5pm. Mails are despatched at regular intervals throughout the day and advanced mails are sent off when necessary in the early evening. Correspondence posted for day or early evening despatches has an advantage over that posted later. Apart from the possibility of earlier delivery, there is the assurance that connections will not be missed. We now work all night to give you an early morning delivery.
(Summer 2013 Newsletter).
Obituary of Ald. L.O. Trivett, JP.
The West Bridgford Times on 13 January 1933.
L.Trivett was the first Vice-President of Notts Philatelic Society and went on to hold the office of President on five occasions. ‘Few people knew that Mr. Trivett was ill, as he was out and about only two or three days before his lamented demise’.
He started work when only 9½ years old at one of WH.Smith’s bookstalls, where he earned a few shillings a week, and finished as head of the then well-known firm of L.O. Trivett, lace, net, hosiery and veiling manufacturers & shippers.
Some years before his death, Mr. Trivett, who was a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society disposed of a large part of his collection of foreign stamps for several thousands of pounds. However, he retained some rare specimens of Jamaica and Gibraltar, which were claimed to be the finest collection in the world.
He wrote two brochures on philately entitled ‘The Inception of Penny Postage and Evolution to the Adhesive Postage Stamp’, a copy of which the King was pleased to accept, and ‘Philately- a National Asset as World Training for Growing Boys’. As well as being an eminent philatelist, Mr. Trivett was also Assistant Commissioner for Scouts.
(Winter 2007-8 Newsletter).
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