15th November 2016 Visit from Stratford Philatelic Society

Banbury Stamp Society welcomed John Gledhill, Rosalind Ragg & Colin Fountain from the Stratford Philatelic Society at their meeting on Tuesday 15th November. John kicked off with his display of “Revalued British Registration Envelopes” which is part of a larger collection of GB Overprints. The description of an Overprint is anything that is added later and could be in the form of words or additional values. This definition was amply shown with envelopes that had increased postage rates, increased compensation rates or changed descriptions. In most cases this occurred in order to use up large stocks of existing preprinted material. For example, during the First World War a 2p black registered envelope was used by the forces but at the end of the war a huge quantity was left over so an additional 1p was added for normal use. John also displayed a quantity of Letter Cards and Reply Coupons showing uprated values.

Rosalind Ragg completed the first half of the evening with a fascinating display of “Swiss Soldier Stamps” which were produced by individual military units as a means of raising funds for the war effort. As it turned out this was a very effective way of funding as 2 million Swiss Francs was raised by this method. Each military unit designed and printed its own labels which were affixed to envelopes alongside the appropriate postage rate and were shown to have been very professionally produced and now have become very collectable. Rosalind’s main interest had been sparked by horses on stamps and this display highlighted Command Staff, Territorials and Infantry all with horses in the design. She also showed many sheets depicting Horse Collection Depots which were used to hold all of the horses collected from farms for subsequent military use.

For the second half of the evening Colin Fountain presented on the theme of “Defunct Gloucestershire Post Offices” with humorous stories to illustrate his visits to the many now defunct PO’s. Over time there have been 650 Post Offices, of which, only a quarter now remain. It appeared that on many occasions following Colin’s visit to a Post Office it very shortly closed but in many cases it was due to lack of use as they served small villages/hamlets and had limited opening times. For example, one was only open from 9.00 till 13.00 on Mondays and 15.00 till 17.30 on Thursdays whilst others closed because the Post Master retired. This was well illustrated at Symond’s Yat Rock where the Post Mistress retired after 55½ years.

Stratford members were then thanked for providing a very interesting and entertaining evening. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday December 6th at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when John Davies will present on “Philatelic Hints & Tips + members will show their “Best Buys”. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.