On 10th April 1869, a small group of well-to-do amateur stamp collectors met at 93 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, the residence of stamp dealer Mr John C. Wilson. It was at this meeting that they decided to establish The Philatelic Society, London with the aim of promoting research and increasing awareness of philately, preventing forgeries and helping with the trade and exchange of postage stamps amongst its members.
Sadly, the official minutes of this meeting have long been lost. The only record in existence is this entry from the personal diary of one of the eight attendees of that first meeting: Joseph Speranza, Lieutenant in the Royal Malta Fencibles Artillery. Others present at the meeting were: Sir Daniel Cooper Bart., late Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales; Judge Frederick Adolphus Philbrick Q.C., a barrister; P. Furse, Deputy Assistant Commissary General; Dr Charles William Viner, then editor of The Stamp Collector’s Magazine and later The Philatelist; Thomas F. Erskine; William Dudley Atlee, stamp dealer and publisher of Stamp Circular and W. E. Hayns.
Click here to view the diary.
Transcript of the entry for 10th April 1869
“VISIT TO LONDON. MEETING & ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PHILATELIC SOCIETY.
DINNER WITH THE FURSES & MACDONALDS.
Then called at the R.A. Institution and afterwards left by the 11.55 Train from Woolwich Arsenal for London - At Charing Cross met Furse, who was waiting for me.
Took a cab & drove to Chelsea Barracks where he inspected the Meat & Bread - Then walked to his house No. 127, St. George's Road Warwick Square where had lunch with Mrs. Furse, Mrs. & the Misses Macdonald. After lunch had a chat with Furse about Stamps then at 3 P.M. walked with him to the Victoria Station, took a Buss and landed at Great Russell Street W.C.
Walked to No. 93 Wilson's rooms and there met Sir D. Cooper, Mr D. Atlee, Dr Viner, Mr Philbrick, Mr Erskine, Mr Haines. - Sir D. Cooper took the chair and we proceeded to lay the rules and frame the codes of the "Philatelic Society" and elect the Officers - The proceedings will be published next month in the Philatelist & S. C. Magazine - The annual Subscription was fixed to 6/- which was paid in advance by each of us. - At 6 P.M. the meeting broke up.”