Saturday 19th October 2019 - Annual Fair
A fair crowd of buyers were present to enjoy the cards brought along by the dealers, and all enjoyed the refreshments which were provided by Janice / Julie / Ron / Eric / Janet during the day.
Monday September 16th 2019 - Andrew Clarke - Old Maidstone Pubs
Another interesting talk from Andrew about the pubs in and around Maidstone, and was enjoyed by the members present.
The monthly competition (Oast House) was won by Nigel Viner.
Monday August 19th 2019 - Vicky Harris - Judges Postcards
The speaker for the evening was Vicky Harris, and her subject was Judge's Postcards. She began with a short history of the firm, which originated with Fred Judge (1872-1950) whose early training in engineering and growing interest in the hobby of photography would lead in 1908 to the foundation with his brother Thomas of a limited company specialising in the production of high quality postcards. Fred's shop in Hastings had made him realise that visitors to the area wanted simple souvenirs: postcards using his photographs, and by the 1920s and '30s those of several other photographers, and also sketches by local artists, proved very popular. Cards were mostly black and white or sepia initially but some early colour cards were also made. German printing was superior in the early years.
In 1927 purpose-built premises for postcard manufacture were opened in St.Leonards - still in use today, although now with rear extensions to accommodate modern printing methods. Quite soon Fred had begun to diversify into calendars and lettercards, wedding photos, advertising brochures for firms, and bookmarks. Hand-coloured versions of subjects like flowers (at 4d rather than 2d) became birthday or other greeting cards.
The subjects of Judge's cards varied widely. At first they were mainly local views taken in or near Hastings. Fred liked taking pictures of local fires or smilar events, of ships, alleys, churches... or anything that took his fancy. But soon he and his photographers ranged more widely. Over the years identical pictures were reprinted using different processes including collotype, photogravure and offset litho. Coloured cards were introduced in 1955, and after 1968 sepia was no longer an option.
Vicky showed a good variety of cards and other items produced by the firm throughout the twentieth century, including some from the 'Hideaway' series where a section of a longer card folded over and was sealed down, so only the addressee could read its message. A special cutting machine could produce cards of odd shape, while those in the 'Carte Noir' series had a wide black border. Despite all such innovations sales fell, and in 1984 the company went into receivership. But it was saved when taken over by the Wolford family with former Director Ernest Bartholomew assuming control.
The monthly competition, Pillar Box or Letter Box, was won by Lucie Prior, with a card showing a Post Box at Lands End.
Monday 15th July - Quiz
Ron Kemp had prepared a quiz to entertain us, and it did this very successfully while educating us at the same time. We were divided into groups who, after they had chosen a team name, were invited to write it in the square box below the instruction. TRAP - the box immediately below was oblong: the square box was at the bottom of the page. Those who actually chose this received a bonus point.
There were nine groups of questions, some easy, some very difficult. Of the three directly connected with postcards, one had 26 views to identify, and here it definitely helped if you knew that Ron had lived on the Isle of Wight. There were river anagrams to sort out, flags of the world to name, film titles to complete and a simple number crossword to solve. The multiple choice sections caused much discussion - was it Paddington Bear, Superman or Jane Austen who had never appeared on a British coin, for example?
While team members shared their answers, and continued to argue gently amongst themselves, Ron 'did refreshments' for the evening. When the washing up was finished, the answers were revealed. The result was a tie with two teams scoring 71 out of a possible 98. The prize - the chance to set next year's quiz! A very enjoyable evening.
There was also a tie in the monthly competition, Military Vehicle, with Ron, Heather, David and Eric each scoring 2 points.
Monday 17th June 2019
Tony Davis was specially welcomed tonight as our speaker, his subject Iceland. He has a very large collection of postcards as well as stamps and postal history of the country, and what we saw tonight was only a fraction of the whole. Tony has visited Iceland on several occasions, and his photographs taken on these trips accompanied earlier postcard views of the same spot wherever possible. One unusual card showed water being delivered by cart in 1910.
Since the country's population is only just over 300,000, of whom 75% live in the capital, Tony's first half was devoted to pictures of the most important buildings in Reykjavik. These include the cathedrals, both Protestant and Catholic, the Parliament building, the shopping area, the new cinema/concert hall and the Grammar School. The latter has the distinction of owning two Nobel prize winners amongst its former pupils. At the centre of Reykjavik is the large lake known as the Tjorn, whose surroundings include a peripatetic bandstand and some modern sculptures.
The most spectacular new developments are related to Iceland's geothermal activity. There are three very large aluminium smelting works, of major economic importance. Elsewhere five of six enormous circular tanks store hot water, while the 'spare' illustrates the history of Iceland via waxworks. (The country's most famous citizen, Leif Ericcson, who reached America before Columbus, is commemorated by a statue in Reykjavik.) The restaurant above the tank complex offers spectacular views, and equally spectacular prices. Iceland may not be everyone's first choice as a holiday destination, but Tony's show could change some people's minds...
The monthly competition, Harbour, was won by Richard Wheeler with a card showing fishing boats mooored at North Shields.
Monday 20th May 2019
11 dealers took 16 tables at the annual evening fair held at St Paul's. A good crowd of buyers perused their stock, and a pleasant evening was had by all - especially if you were the one who found that missing card!
The refreshments team did well to take almost £50 for club funds, so well done to all those who helped in one way or another.
The Bernard Mundel trophy results were as follows:
1st - Nigel Viner - 52 votes
2nd - Ron Kemp - 35 votes
3rd - Tony Davis - 16 votes.
Monday April 29th 2019
Chairman Eric asked members to sign up to provide refreshments and help at the May Fair, to publicise it (fliers were available), and to think about entering the Bernard Mundel competition. He then invited those present to show their ‘Other Collections’.
Bill Kingsman was first with items ranging from six-inch photographs of the stock once held in his shops to the 6-foot hand-painted sign he used at Fairs. But he also brought toy soldiers, portraits, military figures including a Doulton ‘Toby’ jug, and medals, many featuring his own regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders.
Tony Davis produced from a small chest a bewildering variety of things associated with letter writing, including inkstands, letter scales, paper knives, stamp boxes, paperweights, a hole punch, a benzene bottle, and much more.
Heather Rooke brought Maidstone ephemera such as letter heads, invoices, house sale particulars and documents connected with places and events in the borough over the last century. She also showed a file with illustrations of former important residences, with their associated history.
John Dann showed, firstly, some Celtic coins from a hoard found at Boxley, then nineteenth century trade tokens. Some traders used these when lacking small change; other tokens which could only be spent in the issuers’ own outlets were issued by employers like hop growers and farmers. (This meant they couldn’t spend all their wages in the pub.)
Eric Baldock’s contribution was his collection of uniform badges and buttons associated with local bus companies. Pride of place went to the brass letters and figures ‘rescued’ when the Maidstone Transport company offices closed, but there were many handsome enamel badges and even one in silver, which employees were proud to wear. The later ‘Boro’line’ pin badges did not have the same appeal!
Morgan Memorabilia accumulated by Janice Brunning and her husband provided a colourful display, particularly the MOG Rally Plaques give to all those taking part in meetings of Morgan Sports car enthusiasts, several of them abroad. Janice also brought a couple of models, and some of the ‘goody bags’, linen or plastic, which were given away at meetings.
Mary Wheeler’s collection of Father Christmas items took many forms - wooden, plastic, metal, paper, woollen... There were toys which moved when wound up or simply pressed, a set of dolls fitting one inside another; Christmas tree decorations including lights; scraps intended to be pasted into albums, and a much loved favourite, a 3-foot model bought by Mary’s mother in 1935.
Rosemary Dellar had stuck to postcards, but her subject was Upnor. There were views of the castle, the beach, the Arethusa, the village, and the Woodland Tea Gardens, all of which attracted many visitors from across the river during the summer. The ‘Dorothy’ houseboat’s teas were especially popular. One modern card showed the remains of Cockham fort, but the drunken WWII pillbox which has slipped down on to the beach has not yet featured on a card.
Ron Kemp finished the evening with a fine display of the work of the artist Kenneth Shoesmith, whose postcards and other illustrated items (menu covers, brochures etc.) were produced for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. The cards. which were bright and eye-catching, showed the Company’s ships and typical scenes passengers might expect to see if they travelled abroad using them.
The monthly competition, Easter, was won by Richard Wheeler with a card showing a lady wearing her winning entry in an Easter Bonnet competition.
Monday 18th March - Club Auction
20 club members were present to bid on the 152 lots which were put up for sale. Auctioneer Tony Davis tried his best to beat up the prices, and a total of £223.40 was raised from 89 lots sold, meaning a total (including some donations) of £56.30 being raised for club funds. The highest price paid for a single lot was £15 for an album of artist drawn cards including some ARQ's.
There was no competition this evening.
Monday 18th February - Bob Appleton - Shipping on the River Thames
Bob gave an interesting talk about the shipping traffic which travelled along the River Thames by way of a powerpoint presentation. Many of the landmarks were well known to members, and many recognised the ships and their cargoes.
The competition (Tower) was won jointly by somebody and somebody else.
Monday 21st January 2019 - Members Evening
Members were reminded to pay their subscriptions (£6), and to return Auction Forms to Janice by February 1st. Ron brought along copies of PPM which had been given to the club by Ken Williamson of Gillingham, and they were available for £1 per year. Visitors would be most welcome at the Gravesend Fair on January 26th. Eric then invited members to display 'Something beginning with W'. As usual this produced plenty of material, with much lateral thinking.
Ron Kemp's frames included Wiesbaden 1898-9, Winchelsea, and waterfalls from New Zealand. Well-dressing and Whitstable were just two of Richard Wheeler's Ws. Many were produced by the Women's Institute. Rosemary Dellar chose Westminster, especially the Bridge, its history, and its associated statues. David Chambers' subject was Wings, illustrated by Cadbury's Cocoa Reward cards showing butterflies and moths with their caterpillars and cocoons.
Westminster Abbey was among Eric Baldock's topics: he also introduced Windsor and Whitstable. Godfrey Prior brought cards connected with the Post Office in Wales. Heather Rooke had a variety of Windows, and an excellent picture of a Windjammer in full sail. Dave Rawlins' main idea was Words of songs or hymns. He also included Wings, this time of aircraft, and Woven (silk) cards. Tony Davis brought postcards, photos, stamps and covers of Iceland (inevitably!) - illustrating the Westman Islands of Surtsee and Haimaey. Irene Hales was the final contributor, with royal Weddings, some Wreaths and a Walls icecream cart.
The subject of the monthly competition was Numbers, with several interesting interpretations among a larger-than-usual entry. The winner was Ron Kemp, showing the dates 1914-1918 on a silk card sent from the Front in that year.
Monday 17th December 2018 - Chairman's Evening
After members had been reminded to pay their subscriptions for the next year (£6), and to return Auction Forms, next month, our Chairman Eric Baldock entertained us with a display of his Young and Cooper cards. Of over 1000 different cards produced by the firm, he had collected the vast majority in each of their several different series. The first cards, with green Y&C logo, covered a wider geographical area than Maidstone and its immediate environs, and were coloured. Hop-picking was the subject of many of these. Perhaps one of the two different No.15s should have been No.1, as the series actually starts with No. 2. Cards in the next series were real photographic views of Maidstone or local scenes which particularly inspired the photographer as he travelled round. The earliest Y&C photographer was Laurence Castleman Brown whose car figured prominently in some views. Colour printing was used for a third group, but on these Y&C appeared in brown.
In his second part Eric introduced some of the many other postcard publishers/photographers who were based in Maidstone, including J.S.Woodrow, M&H, George Alfred Cooper, Stedman, Ruck, De'ath and Dunk. The evening was of particular interest to local members, but all enjoyed seeing the various views from slightly different aspects, or handcoloured in different shades.
The monthly Competition subject, Father Christmas, had proved surprisingly difficult, but the worthy winner was Heather with an Edwardian 3-D card. The Annual competition was won by Heather Rooke, who was duly rewarded.
Monday 19th November 2018 - Annual General Meeting
18 members were present, and apologies were received from Albert Daniels and Nigel Viner. After all present had been welcomed by Chairman Eric Baldock, the Minutes of the 2017 AGM were read and signed as correct. (Prop. Janice Brunning, sec. Tony Davis). There were no matters arising.
Chairman's Report: Eric Baldock said that this had been a good year. All the scheduled meetings had duly taken place, with a good show from the speaker who had missed his spot last year. He thanked all the Committee for their work, especially Janice Brunning, without whom it was unlikely the Club could continue to flourish as it has done so far. He also thanked all those who had helped in other ways, with refreshments, selling raffle tickets, arranging and putting away boards and furniture, and contributing raffle prizes.
Treasurer's Report: Ron Kemp reported that the current balance was now £3042.94, substantially different from last year's total. Figures for most items were generally similar: the deficit was largely because of the decision to spend some of the Club's assets on the 40th Anniversary Meal, which was a great success. The slight reduction in hall rent was down to the discovery that we were allowed 15 minutes grace at each end of our booked period, so that we now needed to book only 2½ hours instead of three. There were currently 25 paid-up members.
There was no separate Secretary's Report.
Election of Committee: Ron Kemp wished to resign as Treasurer, and Richard Wheeler had agreed to replace him. All other current members were willing to stand, and Mary Wheeler was prepared to join the Committee.
The following (prop. Eric Baldock, sec. Tony Farnham) were therefore elected en bloc:-
Chairman: Eric Baldock
Vice-Chairman: Tony Davis
Treasurer: Richard Wheeler
Programme Secretary: Ron Kemp
Minutes: Rosemary Dellar
Fairs: Janice Brunning
Committee Members: Tony Davis, Dave Rawlins, Julie Lester, Mary Wheeler
Programme Secretary's Report: Several evenings were already fixed for 2019. These were:
January: Members' Evening (W is for...)
March: Annual Auction
May: Evening Fair
October: All-day Fair
December: Chairman's Evening (Eric Baldock)
January 2020: Members' Evening (X is for....)
Ron said speakers likely to be approached included Bob Appleton, Paul Cahill, Andrew Clark, and the ever-reliable Tony Davis. He would welcome further names, and topics for Members' Evenings. ('Pubs' was one suggestion as well as 'alternative collections').
Fairs: These were our main source of income, so it was important that ALL members supported them, even if only for a short period. More people were needed to help set up the hall and clear up afterwards. Donations of HOME-MADE cakes etc. were particularly requested.
Monthly Competitions: Janice Brunning listed these for 2019. They would be:
March: No competition (Auction)
May: No competition (Fair)
July: Military vehicle
August: Pillar box/letter box
September: Oast house
December: Seasonal Greeting
January 2020: Dancing
Any Other Business:
Timing of meetings: Several members would prefer these to begin at 7.30pm, but after some discussion it was decided to compromise on 7.45pm, beginning in January. This could be reviewed after a trial period. Speakers would be asked to confine each part of their talk/display to not more than 30 minutes. On Members' Evenings those giving displays should ensure that these were not too long, so that all had an opportunity to show their material.
Conversation pieces: Richard Wheeler suggested that members might like to bring up to five items - new or particularly interesting recent acquisitions - and exhibit them before the meeting proper began.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.40 pm.
After the break members were entertained by displays of Postal Stationery. Contributors were Heather Rooke, Janice Brunning, Rosemary Dellar and Tony Davis. The subjects included imprinted postcards from Britain and foreign countries, cards published by the National Postal Museum, special covers signed by famous people, and the earliest Dutch postcards from 1871.
The winner of the monthly competition, Military Animals, was Dave Rawlins with a card whose message 'Ericatorials - Won't You Join' was illustrated by a young lady cat in khaki addressing a young dog in civvies.
Saturday 20th October 2018 - All Day Fair at Grove Green
We welcomed 15 dealers taking 22 tables at the all day fair, and a good attendance by buyers ensured a profitable event.
Thanks are due to Janice Brunning who organised the event, and to the team of helpers who provided the refreshments and helped the dealers with their stock. £78.33 was raised by the refreshments, which was a valuable addition to club funds.
Monday 15th October 2018 - Roger Smoothy - "Trip down the Thames 1902"
As the Chairman and Vice Chairman were not present at the meeting, Treasurer Ron Kemp made the introductions and asked for help at the Postcard Fair on Saturday 20th October at Grove Green. He asked specifically for people to help the dealers in with their stock, and to help out in the kitchen.
This evening meeting was by club member Roger Smoothy, and the first half was taken with a presentation from 1902 including the original script, which had been given by lantern slides. It showed many views of the River Thames from Abingdon to the City, including all the major bridges and landmarks.
The second half was entitled "Down the Thames to the Panama Canal", and Roger displayed many original pictures showing the construction of the Panama Canal, and the difficulties faced by the designers and workers.
An excellen evening with many not seen before items.
Julie Lester and Lucy Prior were joint winners of the evening competition (Hands and Feet)
Monday 17th September 2018 - Andrew Clarke - "More Maidstone Pictures and Stories"
Andrew Clark was welcomed back to talk about the Motor and Engineering Trades in Maidstone. Using slides, he was able to show photographs from various periods, advertisements, receipts, drawings and other items like the wooden patterns from which metal parts were cast. One of the pioneers was Jesse Ellis, who founded his Invicta Works with Arthur Fremlin in 1873. They produced steam-powered wagons, of which Andrew showed numerous types. He also had illustrations of the aftermath of an event in 1880 when the boiler of a traction engine owned by the firm exploded in Mill Street.
W.A. Stevens was established in Maidstone in 1897 and had by 1906 built its first petrol-electric vehicle. A petrol engine was connected to an electrical generator and the current produced passed to a traction motor which drove the rear wheels. The firm was bought by bus operators Thomas Tilling in 1907 and renamed Tilling-Stevens, building buses, fire engines and army vehicles. It was taken over by Rootes in the 1950s and continued to build engines at their 1920s factory in St Peter's St., which was Listed Grade II in 2011 but has been allowed to deteriorate since. Rootes Senior had started a motor business in Hawkhurst in 1897: by 1914 son William was dealing with aero engines in Maidstone, then took over his father's motor business there. After the war distribution of commercial vehicles and cars (including Sunbeam, Hillman and Humber models) became more important.
Some of the oldest-established had begun as other businesses, like the ironmongers Haynes, whose premises in the Edgware Road dated back to 1790. In 1903 the firm sold its first motor car – a Humber, and in the 1930s could offer the new Ford 8 at £100 (Road tax £6). Drake & Fletcher Ltd. began business as Drake & Muirhead, who repaired items such as sewing machines, but from the 1890's manufactured hop spraying and other farm machinery. They installed Kent's first hop-picking machine in 1953. William Weeks, who had an ironworks in Maidstone, also made agricultural machinery including bitumen and tar sprayers as well as coalhole covers, railings and road signs. The firm closed down in 1971.
A less familiar name is Bannister Motors, of the County Garage. One of their more bizarre vehicles was the 'Unecar', intended for ladies. It was a single-seater motorised tricycle finished with a folding hood. Another small concern was Epps & Son, close to Maidstone West station. They offered a Rolls-Royce for hire, and owned the adjacent Railway Hotel. Dick Hills at the Union Street Garage operated a thrice daily charabanc service to London.
For all these Maidstone businesses Andrew had a well-chosen selection of pictures, and he enlivened basic facts about them with some personal reminiscences. Who remembered that a cube of lubricant had to be added to petrol for superior running in the 1950s? Or rode a Vespa scooter like his, bought from Caffyns? And who realised that brass helmets worn by firemen could prove dangerous when approaching live cables?
The winner of the monthly competition (subject: Art Nouveau or Art Deco building) was Janice Brunning with her postcard of the Theatre Cartier in Rumouski, Canada.
Monday 20th August 2018 - Members Evening
This was a Members' Evening entitled 'The Back of the Card', to which Eric Baldock, Julie Lester, Heather Rooke, Rosemary Dellar and John Dann contributed. Not just messages but stamps, cancels, advertising material, cachets, instructional notices, and publishers' imprints could all be of interest. Eric explained how research based on the information found there could pin down the exact location of a view: John had traced 'The Kent Stamp Hinge Company' in Maidstone. John's beautifully written up frames exhibited postcards which had been surcharged as 'contrary to regulations' for different reasons. Attachments even as small as a stamp hinge were not allowed, nor was the use of a revenue stamp cut from a cheque. Other mail was marked as underpaid or unpaid, early examples bearing the local '1d. 493' mark. Later examples bore a variety of 'postage due' stamps, (rarely a normal postage stamp) for which the addressee bore the cost.
Eric showed cards with the less common green Young & Cooper imprint, and he, Julie and Rosemary all displayed cancellations of different types. Julie's examples included rare specimens of rubber cancels from Ryarsh and New Hythe, and she had also brought a few cards with fascinating messages, those sent by suffragettes describing their activities being of special significance.
Cards were frequently used as advertising material, and Rosemary had some of these mailed from the Spanish colony of Ifni but praising medical products made by Abbott Laboratories in Kent. Heather had a wide range of such cards, but her display of messages was even more impressive. One asked a recipient to 'look for the key' with which to access her luggage. Another announced to a relative that their mother would be arriving next day on a particular bus, but adding that if it wasn't convenient she was to be sent back by the next bus. Some messages were poignant ('I have no money and I'm cold and lonely'), others terse with strict instructions ('Please post to the above address, and charge to....') , some described activities abroad or requested attendance at a special event. The shortest bore few words but meant much ('Memories - love you - Gilly').
The monthly Competition 'Ferry' was won by Heather Rooke with a view of Snodland Ferry.
Monday 16th July 2018 - John Dann
The meeting began with the (slightly delayed) presentation of the Bernard Mundel Salver to Heather Rooke for her entry " The War to end all Wars". Eric then invited Member John Dann to entertain us.
After a very brief introduction to photography, John spoke about his first display which he called Early Maidstone Photographers, 1860-1910. Perhaps the earliest was John Cruttenden who began working in 1851, but within twenty years there were surprisingly many, the majority being local men operating from premises centred round Week Street and Union Street. A very early photograph of hop-picking was taken by William Abnett in about 1880. Where possible John had traced photographers in Directories or Census records, and in some cases had found photographs of them. It was not just the pictures they took - mainly portraits (rarely named) and local views - but the backs of their photographs which were on show. These varied from plain to intricate coloured designs (Edward Plowright had six varieties of these). Photographers might print prices charged on the reverse, or add serial numbers.
For some photography was only a part-time occupation. Albert Wainscot was a carpenter, and Henry Streatfield a cashier, and later organist at All Saints' Church. Other practitioners worked in partnership, like Death and Dunk, or Boucher, Croucher and Bodiam in Bower Place. Larger firms like the Kentish Photographic Company, or Clark & Co., employed several photographers. The time over which firms traded varied, the business passing from father to son like Henry Cook's, or Francis Frith's, whose Reigate company traded from 1859 to 1971. John had two very early examples, Maidstone views from 1862 and 1870.
The second half of the evening was largely about Hunton, where John's family had provided the village blacksmith and Post Office during the nineteenth century. His interest in postal history was demonstrated here, with a display of all the different Hunton cancellations used up until the Office's closure in 1971. There followed postcards showing significant local views, including St Mary's Church where where gravestones in the churchyard record Danns from the mid-eighteenth century, and Hunton Court, once the home of Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The bridge, Hunton Manor, the Bull Inn and Grafton House were among the other subjects.
John ended with some cards of a few other local places like Brenchley and Sutton Valence, and of Maidstone, with the emphasis on Post Offices. But one exhibit was most unusual - 'The Fan of Kent', only about three inches high - which opened out to form a semicircle showing no fewer than 30 different locations in the county. This was altogether a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The monthly competition, Back of the Card Message, was won by Janice Brunning with a card showing the Dog and Bear at Lenham: the message, from its Landlord, read 'You can have the cart'.
Monday 18th June 2018 - Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins (An Introduction to Russian Postcards)
After Eric had thanked those who had helped at the May Fair, Ron asked all members to sign consent forms allowing the Club to store their addresses and phone numbers, due to the GDPR recently introduced. Eric then invited Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins to show just some of his collection of Russian Postcards. The first frames were devoted to black and white views of St Petersburg, from the 1890s to about 1914. Although most card captions used the Cyrillic alphabet, some, helpfully, also had a French title.
Peter the Great, familiar with Paris, determined that his new capital city founded on the River Neva in 1703 should be equally well-planned, with very wide streets and unified architecture so that each building could be properly admired. The Hermitage, Peter's Winter Palace, took pride of place, but there were numerous other royal palaces. The three Cathedrals, the Admiralty building, the Rostral columns, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the bridges and most of the other major buildings were illustrated, as were some rather less significant places like the Singer Sewing Machine building and the Pleasure Gardens (which Marcus described as 'an early Thorpe Park'). Stations, theatres, canals and the docks were not forgotten. The Neva itself became a a site for winter pastimes (and the source of ice for hotels), and served as a highway between November and March with a tramway laid across the ice. Marcus concluded the first half with a variety of topics including a colourful set of cards featuring different ethnic groups, postal stationery from the Soviet period, and a rare set of cartoon postcards issued during the Siege of Leningrad, as the city was then known. There were also some contrasting items from Kronstadt; one card showing a priest who had been made a saint, St John, and another honouring Marineska whose submarine sank the German liner Wilhem Gustav with the loss of 10,000 lives.
The second half was just as varied, with postal stationery, illustrated QSL cards, a set of cartoon cards in which Western youth culture was depicted as the Big Bad Wolf, another set exhibiting the different attributes of each of the Soviet Republics, cards of Volgograd, and photographs from the archive of a family of cotton mill owners who emigrated to Russia in Czarist times (but returned to England after the Revolution). There were pictures of post offices of all sizes, and statues outside others. Marcus spoke about all these, and related how the Czech Legion, formerly the 28th Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, changed sides en masse to fight with the Russians during WWI.
Finally came two frames devoted to Serbia, first its Royal Family, then its army. During WWI this was attacked on two fronts, and was forced to retreat to Albania before being transported to Bizerte in Tunisia to regroup. Some members were as young as twelve, so schools for the youngsters were set up. Eventually many of them were sent to Scotland - but some were settled in Faversham. The range of material which Marcus showed, and the knowledgeable commentary he provided, made this an extremely entertaining evening.
The monthly competition, Occupational Costume, was won by Julie Lester with a card showing a housemaid in cap and apron, wondering what the new Insurance Act will mean for her.
Monday 21st May 2018 - Evening Fair
10 dealers booked 15 tables at our annual evening fair at St Paul's, and although one dealer did not turn up, there was still plenty of postcards and books for our buyers to sift through!
The refreshments team did well to raise £40.80 for club funds, and thanks are due to Janice and her team for their efforts.
The Bernard Mundel Competition was won by Heather Rooke with her board on "The War to End all Wars", scoring 35 votes; second was Eric Baldock with 33 votes (Crossing the River Medway); and third Ron Kemp with 30 votes (Kent - The Garden of England).
Monday 16th April 2018 - Ken Thom (MAF)
Chairman Eric reminded members about the Evening Fair next month - volunteers were needed to provide and serve refreshments, and to help arrange furniture. As usual, entries of up to 18 cards were requested for the Bernard Mundel competition.
Eric then welcomed back former member Ken Thom to talk about his work raising money for Mission Aviation Fellowship through the sale of postcards. MAF is a Christian organization that flies for any humanitarian purpose, e.g. in carrying medical supplies to remote areas. Only a few years ago, when Ken was a member of Maidstone Postcard Club, he was receiving hundreds of postcards each month - now it is thousands of cards each week, and he needs a warehouse and a storage unit to hold them. Sometimes parcels contain treasures, but other contents can be less welcome, such as used Christmas cards, or postcards with a large portion missing because the stamp, with a generous border, has been torn off. Individual donations themselves can be very large, in one case 300,000 cards from a collector's widow. Other charities pass on cards they have been given since they lack the expertise to market them successfully, but often there may be gems amongst these. The receipt of boxes of a thousand identical cards from their publisher, however, can be daunting.
Sorting before selling is obviously a problem, but Ken has developed a keen eye and specialist knowledge, and scans likely cards before putting them on e-bay. He has to decide whether they should be listed under location, artist, subject, publisher... in order to attract most bids. He has some regular customers who buy large quantities, one for instance who buys 5000 'foreign used' each month. Another doesn't mind damaged cards provided the messages are interesting.
Today postcard collecting is growing in popularity, especially in Eastern Asia, and after refreshments Ken kept us spellbound by showing slides of some of the cards which he has sold recently whose prices have exceeded £50. Two doctors battled for a view of Kings College Hospital (£90+), 'Curling at Balmoral' raised £63, someone paid £192 for an LL card showing the Wellington Hotel, Seaford and a silk of RMS Obosso brought £246. But the most expensive of all showed a penguin advertising a lecture about Scott's 1911 Antarctic expedition, signed by the official photographer, Herbert Ponting, which fetched more than £400. Such sales are just a few of those which have helped Ken raise over £200,000 for MAF.
The monthly competition, 'School' was won by Julie Lester. Her entry showed the pupils of Ryarsh School posed tidily outside their rather unprepossessing building.
Monday 19th March 2018 - Club Auction
Members produced postcards, jigsaws, cigarette cards and other items for the annual club auction, and there were a total of 163 lots that were knocked down by auctioneer Tony Davis.
Of the 163 lots, 120 were sold, many were given specifically for club funds. The highest priced item sold was for an album of 270 GB postcards, many London, and some Kent. It made £50 for the vendor. In total, commission and donated items raised £99.71 for club funds.
Monday 19th February 2018 - Visit from Malling Stamp Club.
Mike Thompson opened with a display of cards from Aden. The very large number of postcard views available is largely due to the need by British troops stationed there to show their relatives where they were situated. The British East India Company had landed Royal Marines at Aden, at the eastern end of the Red Sea, in 1839 to secure the territory and stop attacks by pirates against British shipping to India. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 steamers could utilise the new coaling station at Steamer Point as well as replenishing their water supplies. Aden remained under British control until November 1967. Aden's natural harbour lies in the crater of a dormant volcano. Mike had many cards illustrating Crater, the original port city; of the modern harbour, Ma'alla; and of Steamer Point. There were views of shops and markets, of the camels formerly used to transport water from the mountainous parts, and modern water storage tanks, of the barracks, of tiny Perim island where heavy guns were placed, and of much else. He had recently acquired cards from the early 19th century showing native inhabitants, Somali and Arab. The multi-sailed windmill at the saltworks contrasted with petroleum storage tanks at the oil refinery: this had been established and operated by BP until turned over to Yemeni government ownership and control in 1978. Until 1937, as part of British India, the Colony had used Indian stamps, so Mike finished with some 'back views' including several cards posted aboard ship and bearing paquebot markings.
Lindy Bosworth's display which followed was entitled Karlovy Vary (in German, Karlsbad). Her beautifully mounted cards told the story of the town's development, beginning with the legend of how in 1348 King Charles IV's hunting dog was scalded when it leapt into a stream, so revealing a source of hot water which subsequently became the basis for a spa. There are nearly twenty volcanic springs in the same area of Czechoslovakia. People bathed in the water, drank it despite the disgusting taste, and found the symptoms of the various illnesses from which they suffered were relieved. The cast iron of which the 'tasting building' was built was later utilised for war purposes. Its fame spread widely, and magnificent buildings were erected to cater for the crowds who came to take the waters. The first hotel, the 'Eye of God' came in 1750: others followed, as did churches and other amenities. Many attractive 'Greetings from...' cards date from the end of the 19th century. Particularly striking were those in the shape of the elegant mugs used, which survived the post with their handles intact. A popular subject was the Sprudel, which erupted like a geyser every twenty minutes or so. Other notable cards featured a Zionist Conference held in the 1920s, the Moser glassmaking works and 'Becherovka', a spirit distilled from herbs and the water.
The British Royal Family from Queen Vicoria to George VI were the subjects whose portraits on cards and stamps Margaret Emerson showed. In 1842 the 1d black and 2d blue stamps, using the image created by Wyon enabled everyone to see the youngVictoria. Later issues had a more mature figure and as she grew older the 'Widow of Windsor' appeared on the stamps of Canada and Newfoundland. Edward VII was seen as a young Prince of Wales with his bride Princess Alexandra, later as a rather fuller figure when King. Stamps, plus a PHQ card with an enlargement of one of these, showed the head of the monarch. An unusual item was a Daily Mail Memorial card dedicated to him. From the reign of George V came Coronation souvenirs, and examples of the first Omnibus stamps issues, where the same design was used by all the countries of the Empire. There were cards showing the King and Queen Mary waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, a card which had been enclosed with a gift sent to all the troops during WWI by the royal couple, and one of the Coronation Durbar. A complete set of 48 cards illustrating the Queen's Dolls' House and its contents attracted much attention. When Edward died (a view of his funeral procession was included) his successor was Edward VIII, who had been a very popular Prince of Wales. He was good-looking, as several cards showed, but there were fewer souvenirs from his short reign. Instead we has some pictures of Wallis Simpson, and an envelope printed with a wedding portrait sent from France. Finally in 1972 after his funeral a memorial card appeared summing up his life. More balcony scenes were photographed when George VI was crowned, this time including the young princesses and other members of the family. Again there were omnibus stamp issues, commemorating the coronation in 1936 and, in 1948, the silver wedding of King George and the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. An interesting envelope which had carried a message of condolence showed the signature of Anthony Eden.
The last display was that of Tony Bosworth showing some rather more modern items: cards issued as publicity material for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. He had numerous sets featuring the mascots Wenlock and Mandeville and versions of the stylised 2012 date, and a set of photographs of the sailing events published by J.Salmon. Pyramid International had produced a set of 38 cards, each illustrating one sport - Tony had brought just a few - while different publishers chose the Olympic torch, the logos of all the different sponsors, and Olympic rings superimposed on London landmarks as their themes.
The monthly competition, Advertising, was won by Lucie Prior. Her card showed a horse wondering what made passing cards go so fast - the answer was in the can of Shell Motor Spirit at the bottom.
Monday 15th January 2018 - Members Evening: "V is for"
22 Members were present.
All were reminded to pay their subscriptions, and to return Auction Lists to Janice by January 31st. Volunteers to form a team for a visit to Malling Stamp Club were sought.
Ten members - Lucie Prior, Heather Rooke, David Chambers, Richard Wheeler, Ron Kemp, David Rawlings, Janice Brunning, Eric Baldock, Tony Davis and John Dann - had remembered 'Something beginning with V'. Most of these people had brought along a Variety of cards with Vehicles, Villages and Vessels, figuring prominently. Several of the latter had names also beginning with V, like the barge Veronica and the RM steamer Victorian, while the vehicles included Vans and Vectis buses. Planes were not neglected : there were Vickers models and Vulcan bombers.
Lucie had prepared a small display of pictures of Queen Victoria at different stages of life, and other members contributed cards showing the Victoria memorial outside Buckingham Palace, her bedroom, her dolls' house, the Royal Yacht, and stamps with her portrait. The Queen has given her name to buildings and places such as Victoria Station and Victoria, B.C. Other foreign places put in an appearance - Venice, Valletta and the Vatican - while local Views included Vanity Bridge at Linton, Vinters Park and the Loose Valley.
David Chambers, as a naturalist, had brought some flower postcards, (Viola, Verbena, the Vanilla orchid and the Victoria Regia giant waterlily) together with cards portraying Vertebrate skeletons. Varieties of fruit were displayed by Richard Wheeler, who also showed some Bulmers Cider Vats which rivalled cooling towers in size David Rawlins provided numerous postcards and photographs, and an LDV armband, of the Volunteers who later formed the Home Guard. Several members contributed memories of VE Day.
Valentine cards, the Victoria Typewriting Service, a Victorian hexagonal postbox and a card showing Mr Punch about to be swallowed by a crocodile, so forming a V-shape, were just a few of the different ideas members had when faced with the letter V. Publishers like Vogt and Valentines were not entirely ignored.
After the break a member (who shall be nameless, but who was obviously planning ahead) showed cards of Workhouses and War memorials, not to mention Westwell, Whitstable and West Malling. Then Tony produced two excellent displays. From his Iceland collection came Volcanoes, and cards, photos, stamps and a telegram from Vestmannaejar (the Westmann islands) , while his Nelson collection yielded a wonderful selection of cards relating to HMS Victory. These showed the ship herself, life on board, battle engagements and many other aspects.
One can rely on Maidstone Postcard Club members to think outside the box - hence a Very long train and a Very tall ladder also crept in to add to the fun of an engaging evening.
The monthly competition, Heraldry, was won by Nigel Viner with a silk 'Greetings from Gillingham' card in beautiful condition.
Monday 19th December 2017 - Chairman's Evening
24 Members and 1 Visitor were present. After Janice had reminded Members about the March Auction, and distributed forms to those with items to sell, Chairman Eric Baldock announced his display of Trams. He began with trams of Kent, with those in Maidstone taking precedence. There is one fairly common postcard view of the opening day of the Barming service in 1904, but Eric had other much rarer cards of that event as well. Initially there were six vehicles, but by 1907 the fleet, which now also served Loose and Tovil, had increased to 17. A particularly interesting Maidstone card showed the only recorded instance of a privately hired tram, carrying mourners at the funeral of Ralph Fremlin. Another showed the exchange of the 'token' where awkward corners necessitated single-line working.
Dover had a tram service from 1897 onwards. Cars in its fleet over the years bore various liveries as some vehicles were purchased second-hand from other companies. The most notorious incident in its history happened in September 1917, when a greatly overloaded tram with an inexperienced driver overturned on its way down Crabble Hill, killing eleven and injuring sixty. Thanet's tram service linking Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate is also remembered for unfortunate accidents: in 1905 a tram with its passengers fell 30 feet from Madeira Walk, but fortunately only the driver was injured. There had been an earlier incident that year when a car derailed and crashed into a grocer's shop, seriously injuring the manager's daughter, the tram driver and its conductor. The bogie trams used had a tendency to derail, and the earliest models were later shortened to combat this.
The Gravesend and Northfleet Electric Tramways operated from 1902 to 1929. There too the early trams proved unsuitable, and double-deckers had to be replaced by single-deckers. The Chatham & District Light Railways Company began operating electric trams around the Medway Towns in 1902, at first only between Chatham and Gillingham - Rochester felt itself above such intrusion. But from 1903 onwards the tramlines gradually extended, to Rochester, then to Rainham, and finally to Strood and Borstal in 1908.
Dartford had trams from 1906, but its whole fleet was destroyed by a fire in 1917. Erith and Bexley operators filled the gap, and the service was eventually run by London Transport from 1932-1935. It was one of the first in Kent to be closed. Sheerness and District Tramways, however, was forced to close in 1917 because spares for its Siemens electrically operated vehicles could not be obtained from Germany. Another Sheppey tram service was the horse-drawn Hythe and District Tramway, built and operated by the South Eastern Railway, which ran for a little under 3½ miles along the sea front between Hythe and Sandgate. In 1914 its horses were commandeered for military service. Although summer services resumed in 1919 the tramway closed at the end of the 1921 season.
Electrical problems also occurred at Hastings, where unsightly overhead wires were not wanted along the seafront. But the first underground conduit system was susceptible to damage by seawater, and it fell to Maidstone's firm of Tilling-Stevens to instal a more satisfactory system.
So far Eric had shown cards illustrating the variett of vehicle employed in Kent, ranging from early 'toast racks' to sophisticated versions with roofs and upholstered seats. More unusual examples exist abroad, like San Francisco's cable cars or the Mont Blanc Tramway. Snaefell in the Isle of Man can also be ascended by tram: Eric showed stamps and First Day Covers as well as postcards of this line. Perhaps the best-known trams in England today are still those of Blackpool, where trams have been in continuous use since 1905, and may be disguised as locomotives, boats or other means of transport during the annual illuminations. All were fascinated to hear of the line in Denver, Colorado, where the horse rode downhill, or the Australian canvas-topped prison tram - not used after one convict cut a hole in the roof and escaped. This display was full of such intriguing facts!
The monthly competition, Inclement Weather, was won by Heather Rook with an April Snow Scene in Oxford, and the overall winner for the year was Nigel Viner by a large margin.
Monday 19th November 2017 - Annual General Meeting
1. 21 members were present, and an Apology was received from Myrtle Newsom
2. After all present had been welcomed by Chairman Eric Baldock, the Minutes of the 2016 AGM were read and signed as correct (Prop. Tony Davis, sec.Janice Brunning).
3. There were no Matters Arising.
4. Hon. Chairman's Report - Eric said that this had been a good year overall, despite the fact that two speakers did not appear, and both Fairs had gone well. He thanked all those who had helped in any way during the year, particularly at the Fair on Saturday, or by bringing prizes for the monthly raffle.
5. Hon. Treasurer's Report - Ron Kemp distributed copies of the year's accounts. The current assets were £3729.83. There was a small deficit (£12.23), but increased income from fairs and the auction compensated for a slight decrease in subscriptions paid. The hall rent remained unchanged and the annual subscription will stay at £6.00. He explained that the cost of the 40th Anniversary Dinner, which was free for Members, would appear in next year's accounts. The accounts were accepted unanimously. (prop. Dave Rawlings, sec.Tony Farnham)
6. In the absence of a Secretary, there was no Secretary's Report.
7. Election of Officers. Myrtle Newsom offered her resignation because of home commitments. There were no volunteers or nominations for any post, but Eric Baldock agreed to serve for a further term, and all other Committee members were also willing to continue. Janice Brunning suggested that her position should be renamed 'Administration and Fairs Secretary' to which all agreed. The following were therefore elected nem.con.:-
Hon Chairman Eric Baldock
Hon. Vice-Chairman Tony Davis
Hon. Minutes Secretary Rosemary Dellar
Hon. Treasurer Ron Kemp
Hon. Administration and Fairs Secretary Janice Brunning
Committee Julie Lester, Dave Rawlins (prop. Eric Baldock, sec. Irene Hales)
Julie Lester and Irene Hales were content to remain in charge of Refreshments and the Raffle respectively.
8. Hon. Programme Secretary's Report - Eric Baldock outlined the programme for the year, which would include visits to and by Malling Postcard Club, the Auction (March), the Fairs on 21st May and 15th October, the AGM on 19th November and the Chairman's Evening on December 17th. Roger Smoothy would show in November, and John Dann had also agreed to speak. Other possible names were Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins, Andrew Clarke, Nigel Viner, and Ken Thom: Eric would contact them about dates. The January 2019 Members' Evening would feature 'Something beginning with 'W'.
9. Fairs - These would continue to be on the 3rd Monday in May and the 3rd Saturday in October. Janice reiterated the Chairman's thanks to all those who were prepared to help.at these events.
10. Refreshments - Some members rarely or never helped with these, while others had served on more then half a dozen occasions. All should be prepared to help if they were able.
11. Monthly Competition subjects - Janice read the list for 2018 - Heraldry, Advertising, School, Occupational costume, Message on back of card, Ferry, Art Nouveau or Art Deco building, Military animals, Hands or feet, Numbers and Father Christmas.
12. Any Other Business
a) Tony Farnham proposed a Vote of Thanks to all concerned with organising the Anniversary Dinner, which had been a great success. It was suggested that a similar event be held next year, but the cost for a member and partner at the same venue would be about £50, so would not attract many takers. The possibility of having a meal at a cheaper venue would be discussed nearer Christmas next year.
b) The website - The fee of nearly £50 paid for 2017 also covered next year. It was commented that several sites to which it was linked were not kept up to date, but we could do nothing about this.
c) Roger Smoothy announced that if anyone had collectiophotograpns of cards or hs which ought to appear in Maidstone's Archives, he and his team could advise on how this might be done via scanning.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.40.
Members were then invited to display their selections of 'Strange, Weird and Unusual Postcards'. This attracted so many that not everybody had a chance to show. Unusual cards included jigsaws, records, a beermat, 3-D scenes (some where the ladies winked as one passed), oversize examples, and ladies whose bikinis disappeared when rubbed. One particularly weird card showed a trader with a poster where the message was written using the dead bodies of the flies around his premises.
The monthly Competition (War Memorial ) was won by Janice Brunning with a card showing the Unveiling of the Memorial at Lenham.
Monday 13th November 2017 - 40th Anniversary Meal
31 members and guests enjoyed an excellent evening at the Grangemoor Hotel in Maidstone, to celebrate the 40th year since the club was started in November 1977. Good food, good company, a raffle and a devious quiz from the Organiser (Ron) completed a memorable evening. It was comforting to include 4 of the original members at the meal (Hales and Co.).
Monday 16th October 2017 - Andrew Clarke
Chairman Eric Baldock reminded members about the Fair at Grove Green on October 21st, for which help was needed in setting up and dismantling, and with the provision and serving of refreshments. Treasurer Ron Kemp reminded members about the 40th Anniversary meal on 13th November at the Grangemoor Hotel. A quiz and raffle will be included during the evening, and raffle prizes would be appreciated.
Eric then introduced Andrew Clarke to entertain us with More Maidstone Pictures and Stories. Concentrating on the centre of Maidstone, Andrew showed slides of the wide variety of shops and other businesses which served the town. Photographs of premises and delivery vehicles, personalities, bills, letterheads and drawings illustrated his talk.
Gabriel's Hill is the site of some of the oldest establishments, like Cornells, the Jewellers and Watchmakers (and formerly opticians), and The Golden Boot. The shoe shop was opened in 1790, and the seventh generation of the family is still involved, though boots are no longer made on the premises Photos of its famous sign when taken down for attention reveal it to be some six feet high. Beneath the premises at the top corner of the hill is a vaulted crypt: a hook in the ceiling may have been used when the shop above was a butcher's, though at another period an optician had his practice there. And who knew that the basement of the HSBC Bank once housed Maidstone's first prison?
There were numerous outfitters catering for all classes, including Blakes which specialised in ladies' underwear. This was evident on one occasion when a straying cow walked in the front door and emerged through the back wearing evidence of its visit on its horns. This shop was the first in Maidstone to have a cast iron frame. It is fondly remembered because of its 'cash railway' which carried money from the counter to the office upstairs.
John Arkcoll had a flourishing grocery business in Stone Street as early as 1824, and rmained at the same site until it closed in 1968. The firm had its own fire brigade, and delivery fleet. One slide showed its Carnival entry float with a full-size boat aboard. Other landmarks which were remembered by many present were the Red Lion, better known as the Gin Palace (which had an upstairs bar where ladies might enjoy a little drink), Chiesemans Georgian Restaurant and Ballroom, and, of course, The Toy Soldier and Soldiering On, Bill Kingsman's pride and joy.
As well as retailers there were larger businesses such as Lyle's Mineral Water Factory, Corn- merchants Honnors with their waterside Granary, and Ambroses Chair Factory which employed more than 200. Time prevented Andrew from telling us more about some of Tovill's firms. This was a thoroughly fascinating evening even for those who have only known Maidstone recently, prompting them to look beyond the present shop fronts to learn more of the town's history.
The monthly competition, Delivery Vehicle, was won by Nigel Viner with a card showing a horse-drawn Ironmonger's business.
Monday 21st August 2017 - Tony Davis and Naval Humour
15 Members were present, and apologies were received from Ron Kemp, Tony Farnham and Julie Lester.
Janice Brunning announced details of the forthcoming Dinner to celebrate the Club's 40th Anniversary, to be held on Monday November 13th at the Grangemoor Hotel, 7.00 for 7.30 pm. This will be free for members: for guests the charge will be £20. Janice also reported that there were currently vacancies for one or two dealers at the October Fair, as two had recently had to withdraw. Single tables cost £18, 2 tables £30. She asked members to suggest possible replacements: perhaps this might be possible via the Canterbury Fair on August 26th.
Chairman Eric Baldock then apologised for the absence of the advertised speaker, but welcomed Tony Davis who had rapidly rushed home to find a substitute display, which he loosely entitled Naval Humour.
Almost all the postcards Tony showed were British, dating from the early 20th century up until about 1930, but he included a couple of French cards and one example from Russia. Most were coloured, but notable exceptions were the black and white line drawings made aboard ship, and printed off for the benefit of that vessel's own crew. These were later, having been made after WWII. There were several recurring themes, perhaps the most usual that of the young lady in the arms of a sailor, both oblivious to their surroundings, whether a newly tarred fence or the infants falling from the unattended pram. Others illustrated two different aspects of a sailor's home circumstances: he might be longing for his sweetheart, or regretting the battleaxe awaiting him ashore with their squabbling offspring.
A series of cards captioned 'They all love Jack' represented the British tar amidst a bevy of beauties from different countries. Other common topics were the Navy as the gallant defender of Britain, the contrast in size between hefty 'common sailors' and their rather more effete commanding officers, and sea-sickness. There were cards with sentimental verses, Christmas greetings, or a line of music (e.g. Hearts of oak are our ships, Jolly tars are our men). More often the illustration had a relatively innocuous caption, but the innuendo could quickly be appreciated by the reader. Sometimes little was left to the imagination. In one case the picture showed a sailor approaching a 'lady' outside a baker's shop: he was querying why 'that bally kid can get a tart for a penny' when her price was presumably rather more.
The evening's entertainment may have been shorter than usual, but it was entirely apt for the holiday season, and was much appreciated.
The monthly competition, Kent Seaside Attraction, was won by Nigel Viner with a card depicting the Switchback Railway at Folkestone.
Monday 17th July 2017 - SOKOL - Tony & Lindy Bosworth
20 Members and visitors were present, and apologies were received from Ron Kemp and Irene Hales.
Chairman Eric Baldock introduced Lindy and Tony Bosworth, whose joint display was entitled SOKOL, meaning ‘falcon’. Sokol was set up in 1862 by Myroslav Tyrs and Judich Fugner in Prague, in the Czech area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Primarily devoted to sports and gymnastic exercises which aimed to ‘educate the body and spirit through physical energy and science’, it rapidly became a nationalistic movement, whose goal was the achievement of Czech Independence. Members had a uniform in the Czech colours (red, white and blue) including a hat adorned with a falcon’s feather. The falcon represented Freedom: the motto was ‘No Achievement, no Glory’.
The first SLET, a festival where members gathered for a few days to hone, then demonstrate, their skills, was held in 1862, and just a few postcards were published commemorating the event. As the movement’s popularity grew, with groups springing up throughout the country, the ruling Austrians banned the Slet planned for 1887, but the second went ahead in 1891. A new stadium capable of accommodating the thousands taking part (women had been admitted in about 1900) was built in 1907 at Letna, and from then on postcards and souvenirs proliferated. Slets were themed, based on Slavic myths and legends, Greek mythology or historic battles. That for 1912 was ‘Marathon’, so cards featured heavily muscled but scantily clad men. After WWI, during which some Sokol units fought against the Austrians, Czechoslovakia became an independent nation at last. The movement widened its scope, promoting education, opening libraries, and welcoming children. Slets, at 6-yearly intervals, resumed, with numbers taking part in displays paralleling those seen in China today. Though with some reservations the 1938 Slet (‘Build and Defend’ its theme) went ahead, but now it incorporated guns...
Both the Germans during the war and their Russian successors banned Sokol: the Communists set up their own alternative ‘Spartakiada’ athletic meetings. A Slet (the 11th) was held in 1948, but the 12th, which warranted a special stamp issue, did not take place until 1994. Six years later no fewer than 21,500 gymnasts were involved in the Slet in Prague, and on this occasion the Post Office produced a commemorative cover. Throughout the evening we were treated to a wonderful display of the many varieties of postcards woodcuts, photographic views, brightly coloured ‘cards with a message’ exhorting Czechs to fight for their freedom, and even a hand-drawn card from a Sokol volunteer on the Russian front in WWI. There were black and white ‘musical’ cards showing the positions which might be adopted by gymnasts, the women’s rather less demanding than the men’s. A humororous example showed a young lady phoning Zeus to ask for good weather. Other notable ‘finds’ were a British card showing a Sokol street demonstration in London (’Down with Austria’) in 1914, and two Sokol membership cards. This attractive display was accompanied by a well-researched story.
As yet no catalogue of Sokol cards exists, but this collection demonstrated just some of the many that have been issued so far. Tony and Lindy assure us that they will continue their search when they next visit Prague, hopefully at the time of the 2018 Slet.
The monthly competition, Band or Orchestra, was won by Nigel Viner with ‘Paddock Wood Band’.
Monday 17th June 2017 - Members Evening - My Other Collection
'My Other Collections' brought the anticipated good response from members.
Eric Baldock began with some 25 (of over 200) model buses, which he lovingly described. Early examples from the '30s often lacked details like registration numbers or wing mirrors, and sometimes the colours were not quite right. The selection included numerous Maidstone Corporation buses and trollebuses, and an East Kent car demonstrating wartime camouflage - grey roof. white lines round the lower bodywork.
Tony Davis brought some sheets of British Victorian 2d blues, the outstanding item a cover used in the first few days of issue. There were also Mulready covers, perfins, railway material and some envelopes with early Maidstone cancels. He then changed hats with a beautifully written up display of stamps illustrating the Birds of Iceland.
From her childhood Irene Hales had preserved Cigarette Card Albums issued by John Player and by Wills to house the colourful and informative cards included in packets of their cigarettes. Among these were flowers, fish, birds, film stars and Kings and Queens. The earliest album was a Wlls example, where the cards were not stuck in, but inserted into corner strips so that the backs could be read.
Rosemary Dellar's assortment of Jigsaws dating from the 1930s to currently available types varied in number of pieces (9 to 1000), shape, picture (small black and white, colour or none supplied) and material (wood, cardboard thin or substantial). About half were maps,including two published by Frances Chichester and a challenging modern jigsaw with the owner's postcode the only clue.
Shipping Ephemera was what Heather Rooke named her display. This encompassed a wide variety of material - brochures from companies like Cunard and P & O promoting their liners and cruises, a barge loading notice, luggage labels, menus, a 'Wireless Newspaper' published aboard ship in 1959. Of particular interest were the official pass of a radio officer on a US vessel which incorporated both photo and thumb print and a deckplan of the Uganda when it was used for educational cruises, housing the children in large dormitories.
John Dann produced some of his QSL cards - sent between members of the International Shortwave League, revealing their location to those with whom they had been communicating by radio. The cards were from countries worldwide, with a sizeable number from Fiji, but the pride of John's collection wasone sent by the radio operator on board a Soviet Polar Exploration ship which was to be trapped, then crushed, by ice.
Ron Kemp exhibited a range of GB Postal History items, with several from the pre-stamp era, and two nice Victorian covers - an 1841 1d Black and a Hastings Penny Post cachet . There were numerous modern items too: commemorative covers and others to interesting foreign destinations.
Cider mats, as opposed to Beer mats, formed the subject of Richard Wheeler's display. These dated from the 1930s onwards and illustrated the different shapes, sizes and designs adopted by the Much Marcle Cider producers Westons, who also used the 'Stowford Press' name. He made sure we remembered the names by giving everyone two free mats.
Bill Kingsman was last to show, with a selection of Model Figures, both metal and china, and even plastic in the case of an American 'Wizard of Oz' set.. The china figures included famous characters like the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson, and Prince Albert and Queen Victoria from a set of candle-snuffers. Brittains, the most famous makers of toy soldiers, were well represented, and Bill possessed one set, an Indian Battery, made for a special exhibition and thus unique. Their models were not confined to soldiers, however, Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs appearing in 1939.
The monthly competition, Aerial View, was won by Tony Davis with Maidstone Prison from the Air.
Monday 15th May 2017 - Evening Postcard Fair
A total of 10 dealers were present at the fair, offering many thousand of postcards to the punters looking for a bargain, or to complete a set. The income from the dealers was £115, and the kitchen also excelled to make £36 towards club funds.
The Bernard Mundel Trophy was won by Eric Baldock with his display entitled "East Kent Buses". Eric scored 28 points; second with 25 points was Dave Rawlings and his "Military Road Run"; and third with 24 points was Heather Rooke with a display entitled "Flying the Flag". Thanks to all who took part in the competition, and also to those who helped make the event the success it was, especially Janice, Dave, Julie and Ron.
Monday 24th April 2017 - Members Evening - Royal PC's
20 members attended the meeting, and 8 produced Royal items, ranging from the Royal Family in the UK to ships with Royal names, such as HMS Queen and Princess Hiawatha.
The competition subject for the evening was Famous Person, and most votes were cast for a card of Bert Higginbottom produced by Janice.
Monday 20th March 2017 - Auction
22 members enjoyed an exciting auction, with some of the highest prices realised from the lots on offer. Auctioneer Tony Davis was in fine form, and of the 158 lots, 100 were sold, making a total sale value of £417.
Highest prices went to a document regarding the sale of the Peale estate, and this made £34. Highest price for postcards were two cards of Horsmonden which made £16.50.
This meant that £68.62 went into club funds, including some very kind donations from members.
Monday 20th February 2017
24 members were present. Eric reminded members that the next meeting would be our annual auction. and Janice handed out a list of items which are to be sold at the auction. The listing can be found on Tony's website, or direct from Janice.
The evening meeting was a talk by Robert Church about the various businesses that had a home in Maidstone, and many items of memorabilia were on display, including bottles, tins and letters.
The competition was won by Janice with her artist drawn card "Greetings from Lenham"
Monday 16th January 2017
22 Members were present.
The evening's title was 'Something beginning with 'U' and eleven members had brought material to show. Contributors were Eric Baldock, Nigel Viner, Irene Hales, Janice Brunning, Ron Kemp, Heather Rooke, Dave Rawlins, Rosemary Dellar, Richard Wheeler, David Chambers and Tony Davis.
Some had confined their display to a single topic (The Undercliff at Maidstone, Upnor, Ulmus - the elm) while others had scoured their collections for cards on a wide variety of subjects. Several had found views of places like Ulcombe, Upchurch, Ullapool and Uttoxeter, or further afield like Urbino. Memorials to the Unknown Soldier at different locations featured in more than one frame, as did Uniforms and Universities. Underground meant both caves and trains, and Underwood typewriters were also featured.
The United States were represented in various ways - cards of President Obama, of American forces, and some well-known landmarks. The epithet United applies to Nations, Airlines and Maidstone F.C., all of which were included, while Union led to the Bank of Canada, to liners and our national flag.
Members identified at least two of the Unknown locations for their exhibitor, whose most valued card was spotted in a magazine and recognised his relative, an Undertaker in West Malling.
Considerable ingenuity had been shown in some cases. Whereas cards advertising Merrydown's cider were correctly described as Upside Down, a sheet of Australian cards placed the wrong way up was definitely an example of thinking outside the box. And a member who shall be nameless hurriedly renamed his display of 'Something beginning with 'T' as Unsorted and Used!
Some particularly interesting singles were cards illustrating Uncle Tom Cobleigh's Chair, Unpasteurised Cheese, Useless Eustace and an Untitled example which its owner had realised showed the band of the WSPU, the Suffragettes Union.
The monthly competition, 'Anniversary', was won by Dave Rawlins with his card celebrating 25 years of Marks and Spencers in Maidstone.
Saturday 14th January 2017
Updated website with the new programme and updates to the competitions and history.
Monday 19th December 2016 - Chairman's Evening
19 Members were present. Janice Brunning distributed Auction forms, asking that they be returned at the January meeting.
Chairman Eric Baldock then entertained the Club with his account of the Tunbridge Wells Bus Wars
Eric's first slides showed a horse bus, and then a Daimler 1904 motor bus which proved too heavy for a bridge on its planned route, so it served for only a few months. The town's eariest main operator was Autocar, from 1909, and during the course of the evening we saw photos of its many types of vehicle, particularly Leylands, in their various liveries, with a rather distinctive mauve predominant. The Proprietor was Oliver Pritchard. One of his early models had slot-in windows which were replaced by curtains during the summer months. Charabanc trips were popular - by 1912 there was a twice-daily excursion to Penshurst (1/6d mornings, 2/6d afternoons). In 1914 the fleet's two newest vehicles were used for the annual staff outing, but very soon afterwards they were requisitioned for Troop Transport. WWI also meant that town gas, stored in balloons on their roofs, was used as fuel by Autocar's buses.
Autocar's main competitor was Redcar, run by the Elliott brothers, whose offices, like those of its rival, were in the Opera House Buildings, although on the opposite side. Its fleet gradually built up to seven vehicles. Meanwhile other individuals started running bus services in the area: Cundall, who included an American-built left-hand drive bus; Ashby, whose conductor collected fares from the runningboard; and the landlord of The Bell at Ticehurst. These compnies were short-lived, the last two being taken over by Autocar.
The demand for bus services was such that in 1923 Autocar converted 12 of its Leyland single-deckers to double, while in1927 Redcar brought in no fewer than 25 Albion models. Many of the town's buses were now capable of exceeding the speed limit, which was only 12 mph until 1930. There was excess capacity, and the two firms competed for customers by racing or obstructing one another (which often led to crashes) and by an advertising campaign continually announcing reduced fares until both companies were on the verge of bankruptcy.
As a result Autocar's operation was taken over by East Surrey, which in turn was absorbed by London Transport. Redcar fell to M & D. which ultimately ran all Tunbridge Wells buses. All these changes meant frequent respraying! Thanks to the waterclours of Dick Turnbull we could see the wide range of colours employed.
Many of Eric's illustrations included the crews of the buses, and one impressive shot showed all of Redcar's personnel outside their new depot in Tunbridge Wells. Another was of a conductor wearing one of the first ticket-punch machines, and we were told that at first the tiny cut-out circles had to be counted at the end of a shift and their colour and number reconciled with the money collected.
As well as his pictures Eric had brought along timetables and other ephemera which were on display, and his enthusiasm and knowledge for his subject were obvious to us all.
The monthly competition, Food, was won by Ron Kemp with a comic card. Ron was also the runaway winner of the annual prize, which was presented to him by Eric.
Monday 21st November 2016 - AGM and Heather Rooke
22 members were present, and apologies were received from Myrtle Newsom and Tony Farnham. At the start of the meeting Chairman Eric Baldock welcomed everyone. He made the usual appeal for helpers with refreshments, noting that some members rarely volunteered.
Minutes of the 2015 AGM were read and signed as correct There were no matters arising.
Chairman's Report: Eric said that this had been a good year. One meeting had to be re-scheduled because of the speaker's illness, but an alternative was successfully arranged. He thanked all the Committee for their work, especially Janice Brunning and Ron Kemp, without whom it was unlikely the Club could continue to flourish as it has done so far. He also thanked all those who had helped in other ways, including those who contributed raffle prizes.
Treasurer's Report: Ron Kemp reported that the current balance was now £3742.06, little different from last year's total. Figures for most items were generally similar: there were no major outlays, and only one speaker had requested payment. Cancellations were received from three dealers booked for the Autumn Fair. There were currently 29 paid-up members.
Secretary's Report: Though prevented by her husband's illness from attending the meeeting, Myrtle Newsom was willing to serve in her present roles.
Election of Committee: Since all current members were prepared to stand, and there being no additional nominations, the following (prop. Heather Rooke, sec. Irene Hales) were elected en bloc:-
Chairman - Eric Baldock
Vice-Chairman and Correspondence Secretary - Myrtle Newsom
Treasurer - Ron Kemp
Programme Secretary - Eric Baldock
Minutes - Rosemary Dellar
Fairs - Janice Brunning
Other members - Tony Davis, Dave Rawlins, Julie Lester, James Newell
Programme Secretary's Report: Several evenings were already arranged for 2017, but Eric asked for suggestions for the Summer months. This produced numerous responses, both of possible speakers (Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins, Bob Appleton, Tony and Lindy Bosworth, visit from another Society) and topics (alternative collections, a quiz, 'your strangest card'). Roger Smoothie was prepared to show 'Industrial engines', and 'Royalty/Royal Visits' was selected as a good subject for a Members' Evening.
Fairs: These were our main source of income, so it was important that ALL members supported them, even if only for a short period. It was noticeable that it was usually the same small group, mainly ladies, who helped in the kitchen - many other members could offer a period of help there. More people were needed to help set up the hall and clear up afterwards. Donations of cakes etc. were also requested. Fairs were currently advertised in Picture Postcard Monthly, the Maidstone Link (both free) and the Kent Messenger. It was suggested that those on Facebook could make their friends and acquaintances, and also their contacts, aware of the dates.
Monthly Competitions: Janice Brunning listed these. They are:
January - Anniversary
February - 'Greetings from' a town or city
March - No competition (Auction)
April - Famous Person
May - No competition (Fair)
June - Aerial View
July - Band/Orchestra
August - Kent Seaside Attraction
September - Comic
October - Delivery Vehicle
November - War Memorial
December - Inclement Weather
January 2018 - Heraldic
Any Other Business:
a) Website: Ron said that the current provider is proposing to charge £4.00 per month in future. The site does not attract many potential members, so unless a free or much cheaper alternative can be found, Ron would suggests it be abandoned. There was general agreement. It was pointed out by members that the current Google entry is out-of-date. Could anyone advise how it could be revised? No-one present had the appropriate know-how.
b) Honorary Life Membership: In honour of the sterling work she has carried out for the Club over many years in several different capacities, Club members unanimously agreed that Janice Brunning should be made a Life Member. Janice thanked the Club for the honour: she had enjoyed her work, but she would be very grateful for help with some of the jobs she continues to do, particularly with advertising.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.45 pm.
Heather Rooke then entertained with an amazing variety of material on the theme 'When Maidstone meant Business'. From Brewing to Building, Paper to Printing, Confectionery to Cars, and for many other trades she showed letters and receipts (many with beautifully illustrated letterheads), advertisements and photographs, prints and programmes. An 1892 Trade Directory, a WWI 'Peace Souvenir', a Fremlins House Journal and numerous theatre programmes all added their unique contribution to the story of some of the town's formerly flourishing businesses.
There were three joint winners of the monthly competition, 'Saint'. They were Ron Kemp ('The Saint' as portrayed by Roger Moore), Janice Brunning (St Patrick as a smiling 4-leafed clover) and Dave Rawlins with an Easter card showing Mary and Peter outside the empty tomb.
Monday 17th October 2016 - Paul Hollingsby and "Maidstone's Buses and Trolleybuses"
18 members and visitors were present, and apologies were received from Janet Dunk, Myrtle Newsom, Tony Farnham, Mary and Richard Wheeler.
Eric Baldock opened the meeting by thanking all those who had helped with the Autumn Fair, particularly Janice Brunning. The sale of refreshments alone had raised £80, but the final totoal was not yet available. The dealers all seemed happy. He reminded members that the next general meeting was the AGM on November 21st.: any suggestions or comments about the Club should be mentioned to a Committee Member before their meeting on November 7th.
He then introduced Paul Hollingsby to entertain us with slides of 'Maidstone's buses and trolleybuses'. Paul explained that these scenes almost all dated from between 1960 and 1979, and asked his audience to tell him about changes they noticed in the backgrounds of the photos. The extent of the changes appalled him - was nothing left of the Maidstone he knew, and were any of the pubs in the area still open?
About half of the show was devoted to Maidstone's trolley buses, whose main routes were between Park Wood, Loose via Gabriel's Hill, and Barming. Paul explained how turning was managed, and that a special vehicle with a mounted platform was used when necessary to change the brushes which drew power from the overhead lines. On wet days it was in continuous use. Trolleys were taken out of service in April 1967, but although most were scrapped, two were preserved at a museum in Santoft, Lincolnshire, after a final journey through Maidstone. One was towed back to take part in Maidstone's Centenary of Transport, when it led the commemorative drive to Barming on 14th July 2004.
When the trolleys were replaced by buses, their drivers needed extensive re-training, for they had to cope with gear levers, and the fact that brake and accelerator were on opposite sides to those of their previous vehicles. For many years buses had no power steering, as Paul knew from personal experience. Noisy engines in some Boroline models were another problem for drivers.
Paul described in detail the many buses we saw, their routes, liveries, builders and models, depots and termini, ownership and much more. Maidstone Corporation's original 'golden ochre' and cream buses did not show route numbers. Later a cream and 'Fiesta blue' livery was adopted but when the buses became part of the National Bus Company they turned green. The many operators whose vehicles ran through Maidstone included Nuventure, East Kent and Bygone Buses.
Brightly painted 'Advertising' buses first appeared in 1972, Pay-as-you-Enter vehicles in 1974, and Park and Ride buses in 1975. One of these travelled along the Medway from the Malta Inn. Other unusual vehicles based on a bus chassis featured too: Cheeseman's fish-and-chip van, a breakdown van converted from a fire engine and a mass X-Ray unit were some. A black 'Executive' coach, equipped with armchairs and cocktail cabinet was used to carry Company Directors and other VIPs in luxury.
Time was against Paul, but he managed to fit in a large number of buses travelling through neighbouring villages and towns, so providing further opportunities for the audience to identify locations. Some particlarly interesting photos showed scenes like the wooden walkway lodged on trestles used by pedestrians during flooding, the very first buildings being erected at Park Wood, a Fremlins steam lorry, and a Police helicopter in Edinburgh Square. A wonderful evening of nostalgia!
The monthly competition, Cinema or Theatre, was won by Ron Kemp with an early view of the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Monday September 19th 2016 - Julian Brown and his Transport Tickets
20 Members and visitors were present, and an apology was received from Tony Davis.
After asking people to sign up to provide help and refreshments at the Fair at Grove Green on October 15th, Chairman Eric introduced our speaker Julian Brown to show us some of his Transport Tickets.
Julian remarked that he would be concentrating on tickets issued on Kent Railways, and began by telling us how railway tickets were invented by Thomas Edmondson. Previously a cabinet maker for Gillows, by 1840 he had become Stationmaster at Newcastle, where he realised that writing out on paper a traveller's destination, whether it was a single or return trip, and the price paid, was a laborious and time-consuming process. Instead he designed a neat piece of cardboard, already printed with the stations between which a passenger was travelling, the cost of the journey and the class of ticket. His idea was rapidly copied by other railway companies, and he died a very rich man - he received 10/- per annum per mile of track from each of them. His basic design remained in use for 150 years.
Just as with stamps and postcards, collecting tickets became a hobby, of which the most famous collector was a Mr Charlesworth. He sent representatives to buy tickets from stations everywhere on his behalf: money was no object. These were never used, and when his enormous collection was eventully rediscovered and sold, it raised about £250,000. Some of his acquisitions were stamped with his name, and the first ticket Julian displayed, dating from 1886, for a journey between Tunbridge and Godstone, was an example.
Through an extensive display of slides Julian was able to demonstrate the many interesting features of the different kinds of tickets, such as those for hop-pickers or for troops, for a company's employees, for prams, bicycles or dogs and so on. Many different railway companies operated in Kent before the amalgamation into the Southern Railway in 1923, including major concerns like the London Chatham & Dover or the South Eastern as well as smaller businesses like the East Kent. This, one of Colonel Stephens railways, printed tickets whose colours indicated the stations involved. Colours often indicated 'Cheap Day' fares.
The rivalry between different compamies serving the same town meant a proliferation of stations, leading to strange ticket issues - one was for a 1d journey from Tunbridge Wells to Tunbridge Wells, just a spur connecting two stations less than a mile apart. Many stations disappeared early in the 20th century, others after Beeching's reforms, and we saw examples of tickets issued for places such as Teston Crossing Halt, Smeeth, and Lydd Town. Julian explained many of the features scarcely noticed by most users - the appearance of 'D.O.' after the station name indicating it was sold from the down platform, 'S' denoting the series; the duplication of the station name and ticket number which meant that when a return ticket was torn in half, the two sections both bore the relevant information. This was particularly applicable for child tickets.
The use of 'Edmondson' tickets continued even after nationalization in 1948 (a few 'Southern Railway' tickets were still in use in 1980!) but eventually on the Southern region British Rail tickets had blank boxes in which machines printed the fare and date of issue when they were sold. Julian's enthusiasm and wide knowledge of the railway companies and routes were obvious to everyone present, and all learned a great deal about a subject normally taken for granted. Sheets of A4 printed off from a computer will never have the same appeal!
There were 3 joint winners of the monthly competition Waterfall or Fountain: they were Irene Hales, Myrtle Newsom and Richard Wheeler.
Monday August 15th 2016 - Visit of Hernia Bay Philatelic Society
22 Members and Visitors were present. There were no apologies for absence.
Three members of Herne Bay Philatelic Society entertained us with their displays. First was David Goodban, who began with a short explanation of what 'Stamp Collectors' as opposed to 'Philatelists' might accumulate - not just stamps, but booklets. miniature sheets, first day covers and sheetlets of 'smilers'....
David's subject tonight was Cricket on Stamps, in particular Kent Cricket. Not surprisingly it was the cricket-playing countries which produced most of his material - Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and especially the West Indies - though there were a few unlikely candidates, like Nepal. Reasons for issues varied. Sometimes they marked a victory, sometimes a tour by a visiting team, or perhaps a notable anniversary. Numerous cricket grounds (from Lords to the Goodwin Sands) were illustrated, but mainly it was famous players who featured. With the notable exception of Ann John (Trinidad and Tobago), these were all male!
Mike Roser had brought just a small selection from his wide collection of Birds on Stamps, drawing examples from each of the several ecozones, such as the Afrotropic (Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros Islands...) or the Western Palearctic ( Europe, Western Russia, the Middle East and North Africa....). As a keen birdwatcher Mike had travelled widely, visiting countries such as Vietnam, Israel, Hungary and New Zealand in his quest to see birds in their natural habitat. He had even managed to establish a Hong Kong Birding Society during his National Service in the late 1950s.
His display began, however, with some sheets which illustrated the work of the Linnaean Society and of early scientists and explorers, whether in discovering and naming birds (e.g. Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace) or illustrating them (Audubon, Bewick). Mike himself was no mean artist, and took pleasure in painting scenes where he could seamlessly incorporate two or three stamps in his watercolours.
It fell to Ryan Epps to show us a selection Hand-crafted Postcards, a subject ha had only recently begun to collect. Some were paintings or drawings which included a space for the current postage stamp, such as one where this formed the inn sign. (In one example the artist had neglected to add the stamp, leaving the addressee to pay the postage due.) Cutting up used stamps to make a picture was another method employed.
Although most of Ryan's cards had the usual postcard format, it was surprising to see a really tiny card, perhaps less than 3" in width, which had still been accepted by the Royal Mail. Several cards, intricately designed and drawn, and with specific references to the addressee and his habits, formed a group dating from the Edwardian period, but others, to which the Censor had made his contribution to the picture, were made and sent during WWII.
These three speakers were all happy to share their enthusiasm for their subject, and it was much appreciated.
The monthly competition, London Life, was won by Janice Brunning with a card showing a seated flower seller surrounded by her wares.
Monday June 20th 2016 - Andrew Clarke
18 Members and Visitors were present.
Old Maidstone Transport was the subject chosen by the evening's speaker, Andrew Clarke. Mr Clarke's first slide showed the stagecoach owned and used by his ancestor John Spicer Gandy in the eighteenth century: his final pictures included several of Andrew's own cars from the later twentieth. (He had been taught clutch control by an aunt at the age of 11, but his first pride and joy was a Vespa scooter). From the intervening years we were introduced to a very wide range of vehicles - trams, buses, trolleybuses, lorries (both motorised and horsedrawn); trains, motorbikes and even a few example of barges.
As he put up each slide Andrew described the vehicle concerned - its date of introduction, the route it covered, its means of propulsion and often details of the firm using it. Maidstone's first tramway, serving Barming, opened in 1904; the cars were always open-topped. A special support vehicle was used to clean the tracks. The single-decker one-man operated Demicar was a feature of the Tovil route.
By the early 1920s buses were in regular use, and the first purpose-built Bus Station in England was that of Maidstone & District in Palace Avenue. East Kent buses, and independently-owned charabancs also operated in the area. Andrew's photographs of all the different bus types were augmented by paintings by artists including Geoffrey John Hall and D. Cannell. M & D also offered a goods transport service at one period, their vehicles using the same chassis as that of their bus fleet. Tilling-Stevens lorries, and others built by Drake & Fletcher, bearing the liveries of well-known local traders featured significantly in Andrew's programme. Views of spectacular accidents were a popular subject for local photographers, and we saw some of their pictures..
Maidstone's first trolleybuses appeared in 1928 and soon replaced the trams, but they too were phased out in 1967. Sad shots of these in a field, and of buses similarly awaiting scrapping, formed part of his portfolio. Railways were not neglected, with numerous views of the stations at Bearsted, Tovil and Teston as well as Maidstone East under construction to be enjoyed. Teston formerly had level crossing gates but these had to be replaced since they were often damaged by cars and lorries.
This was a fascinating evening for all present, and time was all too short to take in fully such a great display.
The monthly competition, 'Trains', was won by Mary Wheeler with a card showing 'Holiday Camp Station' on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.
Monday May 16th 2016 - May Fair
Another successful fair which attracted 9 dealers taking 14 tables stuffed full of millions of postcards! The refreshments team excelled this year to add £43.30 to club funds. Thanks to Janice for organising and for those who helped behind the counter.
The Bernard Mundell Trophy attracted just three entries this year, and the result was as follows:
Winner - Rosemary Dellar - "Tower Bridge" - 61 votes
Second - Heather Rooke - "Happy Birthday Ma'am" - 49 votes
Third - Ron Kemp - "The Queen at 90" - 48 votes.
Monday April 18th 2016 - North West Kent PC Club
28 Members and Visitors were present.
Eric Baldock opened by asking for helpers at the May Fair next month - a list for those willing to provide refreshments was awaiting signatures. The hall would be open from 6.00 pm, so those who could help set up tables etc. should arrive early. Plenty of handbills were available for display and distribution. Members were also reminded about entering up to 18 cards for the Bernard Mundel competition.
Eric then welcomed the Visiting Team from North-West Kent Postcard Club, who gave us a most entertaining evening.
Eddie Shilling was first to display, with Nile Cruise, in which he attempted to present in old postcards views showing the same temples and monuments which he and Elke had visited recently. This had proved surprisingly difficult: plenty of cards of the northern area (Cairo, Alexandria) were to be found, but few of the great monuments at, for instance, Luxor, Karnak, Philae or Edfu further south.
Elke Shilling followed with a display of modern postcards featuring the London Underground.. Many of these were published by the London Transport Museum, especially reproductions of some of the posters which had appeared in the 2013 Exhibition there. Some of these advertised places or events to visit, some the advantages of underground travel, others conveyed polite messages. The artists' styles varied widely, but all were extremely colourful and eye-catching.
Dawn Johnson completed the first half with a selection of early postcards of Gravesend. Some subjects, like the clocktower or the riverside, were relatively common, but places like the West Station, the Sea School or the Barracks, were far more elusive. Her cards covered most of the central area, with its churches, gardens (including Rosherville) and statues, and extended slightly beyond to include the canal and a couple of views of Northfleet. Dawn had brought a further album of cards with her, with more modern cards.
Paul Bayliss followed after the break with a fascinating display based on Flag Days. The earliest was the Alexandra Rose of 1912, set up by the Queen since 'begging' for money to aid good causes was against the law, but selling a flag, a label, a flower or a postcard at a nominal price was fine. Many other charities followed suit, especially during the war, and the Red Cross was particularly well represented.
Frank Parsons ended the evening's entertainment with his Swiss postal stationery cards advertising Suchard chocolate. These attractive items each bore monochrome vignettes to the left, portraying various folk (children, young couples) enjoying their chocolate, the factory where it was made, the cows which produced the milk, and so on. Other Souvenir postcards advertised the chocolate with brightly coloured scenes of sports like skiing or the Paris Exhibition, but a small bar of chocolate was always incorporated.
The monthly competition, 'Queen', attracted a variety of cards, not just of Elizabeth II, but of other queens and also of ships. The winner was Heather Rooke, with a photographic card showing the present queen as Princess Elizabeth.
Monday 14th March 2016 - Annual Auction
The light-hearted auction was well received and enjoyed by those present. A total of 149 lots were received on the night, and 82 were sold. The total sales value was £174.70, and this meant £36.50 was collected for club funds. Many thanks for those who donated lots for club funds.
Monday 15th February 2016 - John Dann and JS Woodrow
22 members and visitors were present, and an apology was received from Janet Dunk.
Chairman Eric reminded members that the next meeting, the Auction, was on the SECOND Monday of next month, March 14th. Auction lists were now available. He then invited John Dann to entertain us.
John's first half was devoted to the photographic work of J.S.Woodrow, who was born in Fant Road in 1886. Woodrow had his own shop in Maidstone between 1922 and 1956, and as well as producing postcards for his own purposes, he seems also to have worked as a freelance for Young and Cooper. He mainly photographed Maidstone town and villages in the neighbourhood, such as Loose and Ditton, plus important landmarks elsewhere - Leeds Castle, Rochester Cathedral, Allington Lock, for example. John also showed some Christmas cards prepared by Woodrow for the Tyrwhitt-Drakes, which featured animals at Midstone Zoo.
Woodrow's cards are generally numbered, but may bear either his initials, or the name J.S.Woodrow in full. The numbering, though, is confusing, especially where his negatives were assigned to Young and Cooper. The same postcard view may have both a clear Y&C number and a partly obliterated J.S.W. one. Examples are JSW 37, which became Y&C 6, and JSW 101, which was renumbered Y&C 13.
The earliest cards have up to three digits, with the highest believed to be 270, but later versions have four. There is no Number 1.
After the interval John gave a fine display devoted to Week Street: its shops and its postal history. There were postcards portraying most of the businesses that have occupied premises there over the last 160 years or more, together with billheads for some such as Haynes the ironmonger and Corke, confectioner. The earliest of these dated from 1833, the latest was from 1967. Some retailers endured for many years, and their evolving shopfronts could be seen in different cards. Some names are still trading today, but others, like the 'Coffee Palace and Temperance Hotel' which was prominent in 1905, have long gone. One item which aroused much interest was a 1959 plan of Week Street and its main traders in 1959, taken from the sale particulars of a house there. The street has two churches, and John had cards of the U.R.C. taken just after the fire of 1915, and of St Francis of Assisi R.C. before the alterations of 1954 and the dismantling of the spire in 1970.
Postal history is one of John's loves, and he illustrated this in the section dealing with the postal history of Week Street. This listed exactly where the earliest receiving office and the later sub-postoffices were situated, their dates of operation and the names of their keepers. John included covers, pices and other items demonstrating the numerous handstamps and cancels used at different times - straight line, single ring, Duplex and later types.
This was a really enjoyable evening, demonstrating years of research and skill in mounting and display.
The monthly competition, Kent Street Scene, was won by Eric Baldock with a view of Maidstone High Street, showing carrier carts lined up near the Town Hall.
Monday 18th January 2016 - Members Evening
President Eric Baldock welcomed everyone, and asked for volunteers to sign the refreshment rota. There had been a good attendance at Billy Buck's funeral. It appeared that many members had responded to the request to show "Something beginning with T", so there would need to be three sessions. The following is a list of those showing, and their subject(s):-
Marcus Sherwood-Jenkins: Russian T-related items, including Tsars and Tsarinas, Tashkent, and the Tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913.
Tony Davis: The Icelandic parliament, known as the Þingvellir, especially its 1000th anniversary celebration in 1930.
Julie Lester: Cards demonstrating the variations in spelling of the name of the village Trosley - Trottiscliffe - Trotterscliffe.
Janice Brunning: Typewriters as part of designs used for advertising, for greetings (often featuring cats or teddy bears), cards portraying military or educational establishments, and humorous cards. Janice also showed some political cards featuring Margaret Thatcher.
John Dann: Trams of Maidstone - the different models, some tickets and workmens' passes, and Maidstone by-laws relating to trams.
Rosemary Dellar: The Thames Embankment from Westminster to Blackfriars.
Heather Rooke: Tower Bridge - its opening, and appearance as a 'frame' for a wide range of vessels. Other Towers including Deal, Blackpool, and the Cabot tower in Bristol.
Albert Daniels: Jezreels Tower - its history, and stages in building and decline.
Godfrey Prior: Town Criers
David Chambers: British Museum Natural History cards illustrating Trees - their appearance, flowers and fruits.
Nigel Viner: Trottiscliffe - the village houses, school and Post Office, Trosley Towers, the traction engine accident on Vigo Hill.
David Rawlins: Thurnham and Tovil. Transport - from bicycles to planes via trains, and especially the experimental carriage of troops from London to Hastings by motorised transport in 1909 in conjunction with the AA.
Ron Kemp: Tenterden; Clock Towers and Trains - the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
The Monthly Competition (Large Letter) was won by David Rawlins with a handmade card from a member of the Royal Garrison Artillery in World War I, with the name 'William' in Gothic script.
Sunday 3rd January 2016
Website updated with new programme, officers and competitions.
Thursday 21st December 2015 - Chairman's Evening
20 members were present, and apologies were received from Myrtle Newsom and Derek Knowles.
At the beginning of the meeting we were asked to stand for a moment to remember Billy Buck, who has recently died. Sylvia Hursey had sent a Christmas card addressed to all the Club members, thanking them for their cards, donations and messages of sympathy following Keith's death.
Auction forms were now available from Janice. She asked for the forms to be returned completed at the next meeting so that a catalogue could be produced.
Julie Lester then presented her 'Chairman's Evening' show, consisting of an excellent display of cards of Preston Hall. Next came a short diversion, in the form of 'A Daytrip to Aylesford in 1905 by the Tunbridge Wellls Natural History and Philosophical Society'. The first half ended with a selection of 'difficult' cards from small local Kent villages like Ryarsh and Eccles, Nettlestead and Collier Street, the last two having special connections for Julie. During the interval the traditional pre-Christmas refreshments were on offer - mince pies and wine or sherry as well as the usual tea and coffee.
The second half of the evening consisted of very early Kent postcards (with a few of London), mainly court cards. These dated from about 1895-1900, and were often sent by visitors from the Continent, where they were already in common use.
The monthly competition (Carnival or Celebration) was won jointly by Irene Hales and Janice Brunning. This meant that Irene was the runaway winner of the annual competition.
At the end of the meeting Eric Baldock offered thanks on behalf of everyone to Julie Lester, both for tonight's display, and for her Chairmanship over the last two years.
Thursday 16th November 2015 - AGM
19 members were present, and an apology was received from Tony Farnham. At the start of the meeting Chairman Julie welcomed all present, who were then asked to stand for one minute to remember long-standing member Keith Hursey, who died on 20th October.
The Minutes of the 2014 AGM were read and signed as correct (Prop. Tony Davis, sec. Rosemary Dellar).
Matters arising: Tony Davis that the Archives had been inspected by members at a monthly meeting, and much unwanted material had been sent fo recycling.
Hon. Chairman's Report: Julie Lester apologised for unavoidable absences from some meetings. She thanked all those who had helped in any way during the year, particularly at the Fair on Saturday, which had been successful.
Hon. Treasurer's Report: Ron Kemp distributed copies of the year's accounts. He explained that the deficit of £75.71 over the year, rather than the usual small surplus, was entirely due to the purchase of two large banners advertising the Fair at Grove Green, which cost £78.00. These were undated, so would be used each year. Total funds now amounted to £3,794.46. Ron suggested that in future the annual subscription should incorporate the cost of refreshments at the monthly meetings, There was a short discussion regarding the reimbursement of those buying supplies, but no negative comment. Ron therefore proposed (seconded by Myrtle Newsom) that the subscription for 2016 should be £6.00. The proposal was passed nem.con. The accounts were accepted unanimously. (prop. Albert Davies, sec. Janice Brunning)
Hon. Programme Secretary's Report: Eric Baldock outlined the programme for the year, which would include the Auction (14th March), the Fairs on 16th May and 15th October, a visit to Herne Bay Philatelic Society on 18th March with a return visit by Herne Bay to Maidstone on 15th August, the AGM (with Heather Rooke showing afterwards) on 21st November and the Chairman's Evening on December 19th. John Dann would be the speaker on 15th February, and other speakers to be invited were Brian Goodman, who had been forced to cancel his planned visit in 2015; Julian Brown and Paul Hollingsbee, and members of NW Kent Postcard Club. The January meeting (18th) was for Members to show 'Something beginning with "T"', while for July 18th Eric suggested 'G.A.Cooper cards of Maidstone' as a possible subject. He apologised if the programme seemed to favour Transport, but expected that members would understand why.
There was one comment that we were fortunate in being asked little or nothing by our speakers.
Monthly Competition subjects: Janice read the list for 2016, which would include Kent Street Scene, Large letter, Trains, Hairstyle, the Queen, Food, Saint, London Life, Fountain, an Anniversary and Theatre/Cinema.
Election of Officers: Most of the Committee had indicated their willingness to continue in post.
Eric Baldock was proposed as Chairman by Julie Lester (sec. Tony Davis), and there were no other nominations for any of the Officers' posts. James Newell volunteered to join the Committee.
The following were therefore elected:-
Hon Chairman Eric Baldock
Hon. Vice-Chairman and Correspondence Secretary Myrtle Newsom
Hon. Minutes Secretary Rosemary Dellar
Hon. Treasurer Ron Kemp
Hon. Competition Secretary and Fair Organiser Janice Brunning
Committee Julie Lester, Tony Davis, Dave Rawlins, James Newell
Julie Lester was content to remain in charge of refreshments.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.40 pm.
Janice Brunning then invited members to try their hands at a quiz, in which they were asked questions about a selection of postcards. This was won by Eric Baldock, with a score of 29 out of 40
The Monthly Competition (Politics) was won by Julie Lester with a humorous card referring to the Compensation Act.
Thursday 22nd October 2015 - Keith Hursey
Sad to report the passing of long time member Keith on Tuesday 20th at Maidstone Hospital. Janice Brunning will be sending a condolence card to Sylvia from the club with our best wishes. He will be remembered at our next meeting in November.
Monday 19th October 2015 - Ashford Philatelic
22 members and 4 visitors were present.
Treasurer Ron Kemp reported that the Fair at Grove Green on Saturday 17th had been successful: all 22 dealers had gone away happy, and there had been a reasonable attendance. The day had yielded almost £340 for the Club, and refreshments raised £84. To be subtracted from the total was the cost of the two new banners, £78.
Julie reminded everyone present of the AGM next month, pointing out that all positions on the Committee were open for election. Present occupiers were happy to continue, but new blood was always welcome. We were also asked for suggestions for possible future speakers.
Irene Hales thanked all those who had sent cards honouring her 90th birthday, after which Julie welcomed the team from Ashford Philatelic Society who were about to entertain us.
First was Tony Fisher, with a display of some of the stamps and postal history of Pitcairn Island. The next display of the evening's was given by Dennis Frampton, who showed the stamps of the Republic of Ireland, from the 1922 overprints on British stamps to recent times. The third member of Ashford's team was Bob Carr, whose subject was the Pictorial postcards issued by the Universities Mission to Cental Africa.
The monthly competition, Fish/Fishing, was won by Irene Hales with a card showing 'A Catch of Sprats at Deal'.
Monday 21st September 2015 - Mike Thompson's Pot-Pourri
20 members and 2 visitors were present, and apologies were received from Myrtle Newsom, Ron Kemp and Albert Daniels.
Chairman Julie Lester reminded members about the Fair at Grove Green on October 17th, for which help was needed in setting up and dismantling, and with the provision and serving of refreshments. Advertising flyers were available: members were asked to distribute these, and to sign the lists offering help on the day.
The advertised speaker having had to cancel because of health problems, Mike Thompson stepped into the breach at short notice. He brought along a pot-pourri of items, mainly postcards, but also featuring souvenirs of the 1975 Lublin Motorcycle Rally in which he had participated.
The subject of the monthly competition was Old Cars. It was won by Irene Hales with a card showing Dr Palmer and his chauffeur in a vehicle whose number plate was D 4478. This had a printed Christmas message from 'J.Palmer, Snodland' on the reverse.
Earlier Irene had been presented with a bouquet from the Club in honour of her 90th birthday.
Monday 20th July 2015 - Gravesend Town and River
In the absence of the Chairman Julie Lester, the meeting was chaired by Vice Chairman, Myrtle Newsom. Due to the absence of the Minute Secretary, the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 15th June were not available.
Dates of the 2016 Fairs are required for the Society’s entry in the 2016 Annual and were agreed as follows subject to confirmation by Tony Davis for booking of the Halls:
Evening Fair: Monday 16th May 2016
All Day Fair: Saturday 15th October 2016.
Ron Kemp had received the following emails:
Herne Bay Philatelic Society: Invitation to us to give a formal display of Postcards on either 18th March 2016 or a date this December which would include a Fish and Chip Supper. A previous Postcard evening had proved very popular and they were anxious to repeat it. After discussion it was agreed that Ron should book 18th March 2016.
Young Cotswold Postcard Club: A group has been set up on Facebook for collectors collecting Vintage and British Postcards which we are invited to join.
Mr. Wreford from Gloucester is anxious to obtain a card produced by the Pictorial Stationary Co.Ltd., known as Peacock Cards. It was issued for the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, is No. 13 numbered LYN 013 Titled Barnstaple and Rack Field Old Cottages, coloured, MC1268 on the reverse.
The Speaker for the evening was Bob Appleton who gave a most entertaining and informative talk on Gravesend Town and the River.
Monday 15th June 2015 - Eastbourne and Sci-Fi
21 members and 2 visitors were present, and an apology was received from Ron Kemp.
Chairman Julie thanked everybody who had helped in any way at the May Fair, at which sales of refreshments had raised £21. The winner of the Bernard Mundel competition was Janice Brunning, with her entry 'We Will Remember Them'. Second was Ron Kemp and third Rosemary Dellar.
Julie then introduced Dawn and Hugh Johnson with part of their Eastbourne collections, and a small section of their other main interest, Science Fiction, represented by Doctor Who.
The winner of the monthly competition (WWII) was Rosemary Dellar, with a card showing the words of Pastor Niemoller, victim of the Nazis, urging people to speak out for the oppressed.
Monday 18th May 2015 - Evening Fair
A reasonable quantity of 'punters' attended the evening fair, looking to find a bargain or three from the dealers and their stock. The dealers who were present were: James Langdon, Ian White, Bill Kingsman, Tony Davis, Christine Swift, Peter Lingfield, Heather Rooke and Jean and Derek Garrod.
Refreshments were available all evening, and thanks are due to those who helped in any way to keep those cuppa's coming. Also to Janice Brunning for arranging for the dealers to attend, and Dave Rawlins and others for setting up and clearing the room.
The Bernard Mundell Competition was held during the evening, and this year there were 6 entries from members. The results from the voting were as follows:
1st: Janice Brunning - "We Will Remember Them" (34 votes)
2nd: Ron Kemp - "Rupert Besley - Cartoonist" (22 votes)
3rd: Rosemary Dellar - "Story of London Bridge" (18 votes)
The competitions page has been updated to include this year's result.
Nigel Viner has suggested adding links to our listings of postcards, so I have added a link to those that I know. You can go to the links page from here. He has also suggested a monthly feature "Postcard of the Month", where members can provide a scan and comment on a new purchase. What do you think? Anyone want to start?
Monday 20th April 2015 - Gibraltar plus...
Ron Kemp reported that the March Auction, which raised £31.64 for Club funds, had been very successful, with 118 of 139 lots sold. Ron then announced that we now have a website, www.maidstonepostcardclub.org.uk, and welcomed any contributions. Tony Davis suggested that it might be linked to his own stamp website, which was thought to be a good idea.
Acting Chairman Myrtle Newsom asked everyone to offer refreshments and help in the kitchen at the May Fair - lists were there to be filled in. Entries for the Bernard Mundel Cup (up to 18 cards on one sheet) were also wanted.
Myrtle then welcomed Bob Higgins to take us on a Tour of Gibraltar. After the break Bob displayed a selection of Trade cards connected with three Sci-Fi series - Roswell (developed after a UFO was thought to have landed there, Farscape, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The cards showed the main characters and scenes from the films.
The winner of the monthly competition (Farming) was Ron Kemp, with a card showing Sheep-washing in Sussex.
Monday March 23rd 2015 - Visit to NW Kent Postcard Club
Well done to Rosemary, Dave, Tony and Ron who represented the club at Gravesend, showing a wide range of postcard related material to the audience. An interesting evening that was enjoyed by all. Nice tea and cakes too..!
Monday March 16th 2015 - Club Auction
10 members brought 139 items to sell at the auction, and 118 were sold meaning £31.64 to club funds. Thanks to Mike Thompson for sitting in for Tony Davis as auctioneer. Highest priced item sold was for a PC of Pine Grove, Boxley Road, Maidstone, which made £15.00.
Monday March 9th 2015 - this website opened.