WHO WE ARE
The Kingston and District Philatelic Society was founded in 1927.
We meet in the New Hall, an annexe of Surbiton Library (Ewell Road, Surbiton, KT6 6AG) where we have the use of a large hall, ample car parking, our own purpose-built display stands, and can provide tea and biscuits at the midpoint of our evening meetings.
Members are encouraged to bring guests to our meetings.
We meet on the first Thursday and the third Friday of each month from September through to the end of June. Meetings start at 8 pm and we finish by 10 pm.
Our membership is drawn from Kingston-Upon-Thames, the City of London, Claygate, East Molesey, Esher, Ham, Hampton, Hersham, Long Ditton, Surbiton, Thames Ditton, Walton-on-Thames, and West Molesey.
The Society is a Member of the Federation of Surrey Philatelic Societies and of the Association of British Philatelic Societies. Several of our members are also members of the Royal Philatelic Society.
We hold joint auctions of member’s material three times a year with three neighbouring societies: Epsom and Ewell, Twickenham and District, and Wimbledon and District: rotating the locations between Epsom, Kingston and Twickenham.
New Members or visitors are always welcome.
For further details please contact Brian Sole (Honorary Secretary) on 01932 220677 ().
The Kingston & District Philatelic Society uses a logo based upon the “Penny Black”, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp: issued on 6 May 1840.
Although Rowland Hill is credited with the idea for the use of adhesive pre-paid labels, this is still contested with many claiming that James Chalmers originated the idea– writing to his MP, Robert Wallace, with designs for such a scheme in 1838. The dispute became quite vitriolic in the late 19th century with Patrick Chalmers (the son of James Chalmers) publishing a detailed pamphlet in 1890 “The Decision of the Encyclopaedia Britannica – James Chalmers was the Inventor of the Adhesive Postage Stamp” – this claim being rebutted by Pearson Hill, (the son of Rowland Hill).
The tradition of such philatelic debates continues in our society – but without the vitriol!
In his book “A History of Victorian Postage”, Gerard Cheshire points out the parallels between the debate of Hill v Chalmers with a contemporary (and continuing dispute) as to whether Charles Darwin or Alfred Russell first developed the ideas on the ‘Origins of Species’; first published by Darwin in 1859.
A theme that links both disputes is that the start of the Victorian Age coincided with an explosion of correspondence between interested parties, fuelled by the ease of rapid communication offered by the railway system. In 1840 there were some 1,600 miles of rail track, by 1860 there were some 10,500 miles of track. It is no coincidence that an area of interest to some of our members is of mail carried by rail (and later air). The first travelling mail office in Great Britain was inaugurated in 1838 and the first special mail train ran in 1855.
Surbiton (our home base) is a product of the development of railways. It was originally called “Kingston-upon-Railway” with the town rapidly growing from a small hamlet around the station which opened in 1838.
The design of the ‘Penny Black’ also illustrates the Victorian aptitude for cross-fertilisation of ideas. William Wyon was the chief engraver at the Royal Mint from 1828 and a proponent of the Neo-classicist vogue. In 1834 he modelled the head of Princess Victoria, who was 15 years of age at the time. This work was subsequently used for the City Medal struck in 1837 to celebrate Victoria's first visit to the City of London. This medal (illustrated above) was the model for the head on the 'Penny Black'.
That the stamp was issued in black illustrates two other Victorian virtues. Black ink was the cheapest option, hence its initial use. But cancellations on black stamps were hard to see, resulting in fraudulent double use, so within a year the ‘Penny Black’ was replaced by the ‘Penny Red’. Thrift and pragmatism ruled.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR SOCIETY
It was agreed to form the Society at a meeting of 25 people in October 1927; meeting in ‘The Lodge’, St James Road. Mr Henry Revell Harmer FRGS (founder of the famous London Auction House) was elected as President. He was added to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1948. He was an expert in the philately of Venezuela, and also had an interest in classic Norwegian issues.
Mrs Dibben (who owned a stamp shop in St James’ Road, Kingston) was elected as Secretary and Treasurer.
Mrs Dibben also achieved fame by outwitting the panel on the popular 1950’s TV panel game “What’s my Line?” when she had to mime her occupation.
Another distinguished President was W. Ewart (Ebby) Gerrish OBE who was elected in 1947, 1949, and 1955. He was a distinguished collector of postal history,and combined this many other interests including his love of cricket – he was captain of Esher C.C for sixteen years and later President.
The Society flourished. The Harmer Bowl for philately which is competed for annually is named after the first President. Similarly, the Horowitz Shield which is for picture postcard philately was presented by our first Lady President in 1978.
In World War II the meetings were held in member’s houses on Saturday afternoons. Later the Society met in Kingston Library before moving to the Surbiton Library, New Hall where it still meets.
SOME OF OUR PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS
During our 97 seasons we have been fortunate to have had 57 distinguished and hard working Presidents.
There are too many to list here but those who have led the society with great inspiration and dedication since the Millennium are:
G.R. Davis 1999-2000
R.J Webber 2001-2002
H.K. Jamieson 2003
Geoff Chivers FRPSL 2004
David Wilkins 2005-2008
Brian Sole FRPSL 2009-2011
Susan Oliver 2012-2013
Chris Oliver FRPSL 2014-2016
Peter Wood FRPSL 2017 - 2020
Susan Oliver 2020 - present
STAMP DEALERS serving KINGSTON and District
Dibben and Sons was a famous local stamp dealer and had a shop in St James Road, Kingston upon Thames. This served collectors for over 60 years and published a special “Cinderella” stamp label in 1957 to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
A second stamp shop was to be found in Surbiton Road, and more recently “The Stamp Box” was to be found in Thames Ditton. All are now closed.
Currently the closest local stamp shop to us (outside of London) is The Epsom Stamp Hobby Shop in Waterloo Road, Epsom which also hosts regular postal auctions.
A neighbouring society - The Ripley Philatelic Society - has developed an alternative approach. They blend offering a stamp fair with some of the elements of being a society at their monthly meetings. They meet in the Ripley Village Hall, about 14 miles from our base in Surbiton Library on the second Wednesday of each month; and they describe their approach as follows:
"You don’t need to be a member – just pay £1 at the door.
You can arrive and leave when it suits you (there is plenty of free parking).
You can buy or sell stamps throughout the meeting.
Alternatively while others are trading you may wish to take part in club activities such as discussions and displays or just chat with friends.
At any event a cup of tea will always be available to help you decide!"
In 1957 Mrs Dibben produced her own commemorative stamp to celebrate having been in the business in Kingston-upon-Thames for 50 years.
The Society holds the "Dibben Archive", curated by our Hon. Secretary Brian Sole. From which this photograph was taken. Brian received a Vermeuil award for a display of some of the Dibben archive in the Ephemera Class of the Autumn 2019 Stampex.
TO CONTACT US
New Members, Guests and Visitors and enquiries are always welcome
To enquire about the society please contact our Honorary Secretary Brian Sole (seen here on the on the left with our President, Peter Wood, discussing one of his thematic displays.
or telephone 01932 220667
For suggestions about the Web-Site, or offers of additional material, please contact our Honorary Web-site Manager, Roger Niven, seen here presenting some of his beloved French stamps.
OUR OFFICERS FOR 2019-2020
Our President, Peter Wood FRPSL, and Vice-President , Susan Oliver.
Supported by (not shown yet!) Ian Amy, Honorary Treasurer and Packet Secretary; and Christopher Oliver FRPSL, Honorary Press Officer and Editor of the Newsletter; and committee members Robert Holmes and Roger Niven.