Recent and Forthcoming Meetings

The Programme for the Session 2020-2021

We had planned to re-open our premises for meetings from 15th October, but due to the current circumstances, this has not been possible. The programme for the season is under review and updates will be published on the website as soon as they are available. Click here to see the currently published programme for the session 2020-2021.

Meeting Exhibits and Videos

In order to view available meetings exhibits and the YouTube videos, Members should .

Before 1841 Sarawak was under the Sovereignty of the Sultan of Brunei. James Brooke, an Englishman, helped the Sultan’s Uncle Hassim quell a rebellion of Dyaks. In doing so he was granted the province of Sarawak, its revenues and its trade. Nominally, he remained the feudal lord of the Sultan until five years later, in 1846, he became Sarawak’s absolute ruler. Sarawak continued to be privately ruled by the Brooke family for nigh on 100 years until the Japanese invaded in 1941.

It was remarkable that James Brooke actually set up a Government with such a small number of men. In 1843 there were only 16, some of which were crew of the Royalist. By 1860 there were only 14 Officers in Government Service and by 1891 there were 57 Europeans in total, 32 of whom were in the Rajah’s Government Service.

The presentation shows how the early Postal Service evolved which was amazing considering the small number of administrators. With so few Europeans it is not surprising why early outgoing material from Sarawak is scarce and with a rain forest climate, incoming even more so. After gaining access to the Brooke archives, much of it held in the Bodleian Library, Simon’s research has added more to this romantic and fascinating story.

This event was held live via Zoom, and the recording of the event may be viewed here.

This presentation given by Gerald Marriner FRPSL, currently the President of the Channel Islands Specialists' Society, shows examples of the basic problems for the Channel Islands' postal service between July 1940 and May 1945.

British stamps were still valid for postage throughout this period. However, when stocks ran out, locally printed stamps were issued. The presentation is in 4 sections, as follows:

  1. The lack of a direct mail service between England and the Channel Islands
  2. Occasional difficulties of sending mail between Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, and Alderney
  3. Indirect postal routes between the Channel Islands and occupied or neutral countries
  4. A small selection of social stories, to complete the presentation.

This event was held live via Zoom. The recorded event may be viewed here.

RPSL Past President Frank Walton RDP FRPSL presented the story of the Registered Envelopes of the Tudor Rose Design.

The Tudor Rose embossed design by Cecil Thomas featuring the head of Queen Elizabeth II for the postal stationery of Great Britain was used for Registered Envelopes, Post Office Envelopes and Stamped to Order Envelopes, Paper and Postcards. Thomas' other work included designs for British Elizabethan coins and the Crawford Medal for the Royal Philatelic Society London.

The first envelopes were issued in November 1954, being superseded from 1970 with the introduction of the Machin design. Included is material from Cecil Thomas' personal archive, which has been preserved in its entirety after being acquired from the Thomas family. All of this material is unique as similar items are not held in the Postal Museum, or in the Royal Philatelic Collection. Specimen envelopes have come onto the market from the printers' archive; such material is unique in private hands.

In connection with this presentation, Frank produced an electronic exhibit on this subject, which can be viewed here. In addition, a handout document can be viewed from this link.

This event was held live via Zoom. The recorded event may be viewed here.

This presentation given by the Society's President, Richard Stock FRPSL is on Anglo Boer War Postal History, featuring the Republican invasion of Natal and the siege of Ladysmith.

War was declared on 10th October 1899 and numerically superior Boer Forces from the Transvaal and Orange Free State invaded Natal from the north on 11th October 1899, crossing the Drakensberg Mountains in three places. Although successful at Talana and Elandslaagte, British Forces retreated towards Ladysmith leaving the Boer Commandos to occupy the towns of Glencoe, Newcastle and Dundee. Ladysmith was surrounded on 1st November and Boer forces penetrated as far as Colenso, nearly 90 miles into Natal. The presentation features items of postal history, including the various metal date stamps used at the time.

The siege of Ladysmith began on 1st November 1899, when the town was surrounded by Boer forces. The garrison comprised 12,000 troops commanded by Lt. Gen. Sir George White. Col. Yule's column had retreated to Ladysmith from Dundee on 26th October 1899. Arrangements for handling mail before, during and after the siege are described.

A display handout and a short article are available in the Members-only part of this website page (Meeting Exhibits, above). This event was held live via Zoom, and the recorded event has been made available in that part of the website page (Meeting Videos, above), for RPSL Members Only.

The presentation by Cheryl D. Ganz PhD RDP FRPSL examined the postal operations aboard Germany’s Zeppelin Hindenburg in 1936-1937, and included onboard postmarks, telegram delivery, and salvaged crash mail.

This event was held live via Zoom. The recorded event has been made available on the RPSL website (Meeting Videos, above), for RPSL Members Only.

This presentation by Stephen Parkin FRPSL included examples of the rate structure prior to Uniform Postage Rates, followed by the implementation of Uniform Fourpenny Postage and Uniform Penny Postage in Edinburgh.

The talk included the handstamps prepared for use at Edinburgh, and those that were actually used. Stephen's presentation also showed examples of mail where there have been issues, including Redirected Mail, Overweight & Underpaid Mail, and Late Mail.

This event was held live via Zoom. The video recording of the event is available from this website page (Meeting Videos above) for RPSL Members Only.

The discovery of the rich Mount Bischoff tin deposit in 1871 changed the mining landscape, and Western Tasmania became the focus of explorers, prospectors and track cutters.

This led to significant finds of gold along the Pieman River and its tributaries and on to Mt Heemskirk (tin) in 1877 and Zeehan (silver/lead) in 1882. Zeehan grew to become the third largest town in Tasmania. In 1883 gold was found at the Iron Blow, and copper at Mount Lyell in 1886 began a mining precinct that continues today. Since 1920, Rosebery has been one of Tasmania's largest mines, producing zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold.

By 1923 the region had generated £35 million ($2.7 billion in today's money) from silver, lead, tin, gold, osmiridium, zinc, wolfram, bismuth, and iron.

The postal service grew to service the influx of prospectors, hoteliers, timber cutters and their families. From 1874, 62 post offices opened in total, many for short periods, with a peak of 29 from 1902 to 1911. In 1911 the population on the West Coast represented 13% of the island. A decline began in the 1920s, and there are now only 6 post offices remaining, servicing just 1% of the Tasmanian population.

Malcolm Groom's presentation talks us through this fascinating and quite complex history of the post office in one of the world's major mining regions.

This event was held live via Zoom. The video recording of the event is available from this website page (Meeting Videos above) for RPSL Members Only.

In this presentation, Phil Waud provided a glimpse of the GB Queen Victoria Jubilee issue. This was the last Queen Victoria stamp series for Great Britain and first issued in 1887, Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee year.

The presentation commenced with something of their development, with a mention of the "1884 Stamp Committee" and then progressed to show all of the fourteen values of this stamp series. The printers De La Rue continued throughout this period to enhance their international reputation, and a number of their innovations were applied to this issue. Thus, the stamps of the Jubilee issue feature important developments in the design and printing of late Victorian postage stamps. The presentation included essays, proofs, colour trials, issued stamps and usages of this fascinating series.

The end of Her Majesty's reign marked the end of this talk, but not of the Jubilees.

This event was held live via Zoom. The video recording of the event is available from this website page (Meeting Videos above) for RPSL Members Only.

The presentation featured early mail carried privately, the Egyptian territorial post offices and postal arrangements during military operations on the Nile and Eastern Sudan from 1884 to 1898. Historical letters from James Grant, Gen. Gordon, Carl Giegler, Earl Haig, Viscount Kitchener and Sir Francis Wingate were included. Items from the Indian, Canadian and Australian contingents also featured.

The presentation continued with the early development of rail and river travelling post offices, mail from border areas and concluded with pioneer airmails featuring items flown by Marc Pourpe, Sir Alan Cobham, Capt. Tony Gladstone, and Lores Bonney.

This event was held live via Zoom. The video recording of the event is available from this website page (Meeting Videos above) for RPSL Members Only.

In this talk on the subject of mail from Central Africa before 1880, our Immediate Past President Patrick Maselis RDP FRPSL MPE presented a case study of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is a difficult and fascinating area for study, featuring rare and elusive mail sent and received by officials, traders, explorers, missionaries and the military in the Congo and associated territories.

This event was held live via Zoom. The video recording of the event is available from this website page (Meeting Videos above) for RPSL Members Only.