The society had hoped to welcome Mark Bailey with his material on the ‘Centenary of the Penny Black’ but because of the bad weather he was unable to attend. In his stead, one of our members, John Davies, stepped in and showed us his material from the ‘1890 Penny Post Jubilee’. So instead of commemorating 100 years of penny post, we were commemorating its 50thanniversary. John started by reminding us why the introduction of the uniform penny post was so important: prior to this, post was paid by the recipient and a letter could cost over 8 shillings – equivalent to £80 today. In addition, there were a number of groups given free use of the mail system and they were prone to abusing the system. The introduction of the uniform penny post changed all of this and the volume of mail increased dramatically. Of course, the other unexpected result was the invention of postage stamps and the creation of the hobby of stamp collecting. For the 50th Anniversary of this occasion, two exhibitions were held in London – one at the Guildhall and the second at ‘South Kensington Museum’ – now called the V & A. There were stamp exhibitions, trade fairs, concerts and a working post office – as well as a reconstruction of a 1790 post office and a prediction for the 1990 post office (mainly, it must be said, based around the electric light). John has collected a wide range of both philatelic and non-philatelic material. The philatelic material included the Guildhall letter card, sold to raise funds for the Rowland Hill Benevolent Fund, and found with a range of exhibition postmarks – the first use of a commemorative postmark by the Post Office. A reprint of the original Penny Black was also arranged for the exhibition and John had some rare examples of these. Aside from the philatelic material, John also showed us correspondence between committee members, medals struck as commemoration and invitations to the various events. Included in these were instructions as to where ones carriage could be parked – something I had never considered before but clearly a horse drawn carriage cannot be parked on the side of the road for an evening!
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 5th February 2019 at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when members will display material based on the letter ‘H’. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.