The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society

From the Newsletters  




(Spring 2019 Newsletter)


Liverpool Pillar Boxes.
In the Summer 2018 Newsletter I showed a ‘Liverpool Special’ pillar box that was on view at the Debden Postal Store, stating that you were unlikely to see one except in a museum. I was wrong, as I discovered one still in use on the Albert Dock, Liverpool. This type of box was unique to the city and only seven were produced. It is the last remaining fully working example, but a couple can be seen in museums. The plaque states that it was one of the original boxes cast in 1863 by Messrs Cochrane & Company of Dudley. The unique design was authorised and introduced to meet heavy and special requirements found in some parts of the city. This box was moved in 1987.

I have always wanted to find an Edward VIII pillar box in situ and this I also found in Liverpool.

Illustration shows: an Edward VIII Box, the front of the same box and a box in Poulton Le Fylde (Photo: Trevor Parr)

There were two manufacturers of Edward VIII boxes- Carron Company (name on back) and McDowall Steven & Co. (name on front). The two crowns and royal ciphers show small differences. Check out, for instance, the top of the crowns, the design across the base and the sloping sides near the top, probably explained by the different manufacturing companies. Almost as interesting as stamps!

More Decorated Pillar Boxes.

We have grown used to literary slogans on our letters, but now Royal Mail is having a field day with their letter boxes. Valentine’s day was celebrated with four letterboxes at different locations across the UK being decorated with hearts and ‘love birds’ and romantic quotes from four poets. Fig 1. Shows a letter box situated in Hampstead and is devoted to Keats. Others were in Bockhampton where Thomas Hardy was born; Lichfield, home town of Anna Seward and at Galloway, Ayr, where Robert Burns was born. World Book Day, 7 March, saw a yellow box (fig. 2) appear opposite the Natural History Museum, dedicated to the famous children’s writer, David Walliams, who featured the museum in one of his books. Fig.3 shows a section of the front of the box. Other children’s writers who had boxes decorated in their honour were Judith Kerr (Barnes, London- her current home); Frances Hodgson Burnett (Manchester- birthplace) and C.S. Lewis, (Belfast- birthplace). The boxes were decorated with quotes and pictures and were to be in place for one month.

Source for text and photos: press release, Instagram and various web sites.



(Spring 2019 Newsletter)

The question has vexed stamp catalogue editors for more than a century. Frequently, the answer is obvious. Fig.1 shows a Jamaican cover addressed to Philadelphia with the two-pence halfpenny blue-black and deep-blue postage stamp (SG82a) and an anti-tuberculosis Christmas seal bearing the words ‘HEALTH GREETINGS 1929’ both cancelled by a HECTORS RIVER date-stamp of 28 January 1930. The postage stamp clearly pays for the postage and the Christmas seal is nothing more than a charity label.

Fig 1

Now let us look at the Trinidad Red Cross label (Fig 2). On 17 September 1914, an advertisement appeared in the Trinidad Daily Mirror announcing that these labels, produced and printed by a private company, were on sale at the Port of Spain department store of Richardson and Selway Limited for 24c (one shilling) per hundred labels to raise funds for the war charity Trinidad Red Cross Society.
On 18 September1914, about 900 letters, each bearing a Trinidad Red Cross label (but no postage stamp), were posted at Port of Spain Post Office and each was cancelled with a postmark. The Trinidad Governor had authorised free postage subject to the postmaster’s approval, which was given ‘almost unintentionally’.
Scott recognised the Trinidad Red Cross as a postage stamp in 1915; Stanley Gibbons was only persuaded to in 1974.

Patriotic Labels in World War 1 :  The Trinidad Charity Appeal Mail

These covers are two of approximately nine hundred envelopes which contained circular letters, 50 being typewritten in purple ink and the remainder being addressed in the handwriting of Mrs E M Phillips, the treasurer of Trinidad Red Cross Society, where the Trinidad Red Cross Label was cancelled by 18th September postmark and date stamps. The label was later declared to be a halfpenny red postage stamp for this day only.

Most surviving covers were undelivered and returned to Trinidad red Cross Society.

Fig 2

I refer all readers to the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, (a copy is in Nottingham Central Library) and in particular to the following definitions:
LABEL 2. A small slip of paper or parchment attached to a document by way of supplement to the matter contained therein. 7b. an adhesive postage stamp, bill stamp or the like… 
I conclude that every adhesive postage stamp is a label.
STAMP. 14. An embossed or impressed mark placed by a government office on paper or parchment to certify that the duty chargeable in respect of what is therein written or printed has been paid, thence also, in recent times, an adhesive label (printed with a distinctive devise) which is issued by the government for a fixed amount and when fixed to a document or other dutiable object serves the same purpose as an impressed stamp.
I conclude that  every stamp is not a postage stamp. Every stamp is not a label.
The definition of a stamp includes an adhesive label which is ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT for a fixed amount.
I further conclude that the Trinidad Red Cross label is not a postage stamp or even a stamp, because it was issued by the Trinidad Red Cross Society and not the Government. Why is it in Stanley Gibbons catalogue as a postage stamp (SG157)?

The Trinidad Lady McLeod label (SG1) also appears in Stanley Gibbons catalogue as a stamp, even though this label was also not issued by the Trinidad Government? I have obtained an explanation from Hugh Jeffries, Stanley Gibbons catalogue editor, as to why these two labels have appeared as postage stamps in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue- more information in the next Newsletter.




(Spring 2019 Newsletter)

In the Summer 2007 Newsletter, I mentioned the first post-war philatelic exhibition held in 1919-20 and organised jointly by Leicester and Nottinghamshire Philatelic Societies. It took place in Leicester at the City Art Gallery from 29 December 1919 to 3 January 1920. The Exhibition, with exhibits all in glass frames, was then moved to the City of Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham and ran from 5-to 10 January 1920. The subject was ‘The best collection of any one country of the British Empire’ (excepting GB). The pictures below came from a small book of cuttings relating to our Society, which I kept for our mini-library after the main library was sold a few years ago.


Invitation sent to A E Woolett, President of Notts Philatelic Society at that time

Stands at Leicester Art Gallery:
Frank Godden, London dealer and the first philatelic literature stall at any exhibition.




(Spring 2019 Newsletter)

Did you go on a school trip as a child? I did. I went to a steel foundry in Sheffield and spent a week in France to improve my French. You may have had a more exciting overseas trip, for instance skiing or even a camping trip somewhere in warmer climes.

I recently bid, unsuccessfully, on two covers from the Denstone Expedition of 1982/3. Hopeful of acquiring two good looking covers I did some digging on the Denstone Expedition. It was to Inaccessible Island, (Figure 1) about 27 miles from Tristan da Cunha.


Fig. 1. Map of Inaccessible Island showing distribution of flora.

Its purpose was to complete the first land survey and collect information of the flora and fauna of the Island. There had been six or seven attempts to survey the Island before, but these were conducted from the sea as landing on the Island and getting inland is very difficult, hence the name.

The expedition was organised by Denstone College in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. It was to include pupils, staff and old boys of the college. It was for five months over the Christmas period. It was estimated to cost £20,000, but this later rose to £40,000+.

The staff and old boys were selected for their experience in geology, botany and biology among other things. There were a small number of pupils who would act as assistants to the ‘experts’. These had to have already taken their ‘O’ or ‘A’ level examinations prior to being accepted for the expedition. They also needed some knowledge that would be beneficial to the success of the venture.

The original expedition had to be put back by two years due to rising costs and lack of available funding. This meant changes to some members of the team, but on 11 October 1982 the S.A. Agulhas arrived in Tristan da Cunha with the party of sixteen on board. They transferred to Inaccessible Island and set up their camp and home for the next five months and started work.

There was to be a welcome break during the Christmas period when they were the guests of families on Tristan da Cunha, but it was soon back to work on the Island. On 10 February 1983, HMS. Endurance arrived with the Governor of St Helena and made a detour to collect the Denstone party and their huge collection of samples from the Island. On 17 February 1983, the MV.Aragonite collected the Governor and the Denstone party for the return to England.

They managed to achieve all the goals they had set themselves, being the first to survey the Island from the interior and producing the first detailed maps. Their collection of geological, flora and fauna samples were sent to the British Museum for expert analysis, though many of the party had already written up a lot of their experiments in their personal journals. They also produced a small 60-page book, ‘Denstone Expedition to Inaccessible Island’, detailing every aspect of their work and time on the Island.

They also produced 6,500 covers, (Figures 2 & 3) that are not easy to come by, which have an Inaccessible Island cancel and often feature their penguin logo.

Fig. 2. An example of a cover from Denstone Expedition with one of their ‘official’ cachets and signed by the Expedition Leader Mike Swales. This cachet may have been a private cachet from one of the members.

Figure 3-First official Mail (2 days after Figure 2?!)

Figure 4 shows the official Denstone Expedition cachet of a penguin with the red and white cross on its chest.

My school trips were never like this !

DISCLAIMER: While every care is taken during the production of the reports, neither the editor or Society Officers can accept any liability for views or unintentional publication errors that may occur.




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