Dublin (1933) - the first ever Cigarette Card Club

Current status: Inactive

Dublin gets a site all of its own for historical reasons, because in the November 1933 edition of The London Cigarette Card Company magazine "Cigarette Card News” (Vol.1, No.2) there is a section on the inaugural meeting of the Dublin Cigarette Card Club, which the LCCC (and I) believe was the first cigarette card club to be "regularly constituted”. 

Their first meeting had taken place on the 10th of October, 1933. The club was reportedly started by "Mr. H. D. Wilson, the well known Dublin collector, and should be of great service to the hobby in Ireland. Those interested should communicate with The Secretary, 8 Albert Villas, Donnybrook, Dublin." A report followed, mentioning members Messrs J Walsh (proposer) and D. Lawlor (seconder), plus the aforementioned H. D. Wilson, who was going to be in control of the club until the number of members were sufficient to elect a committee .

The March 1934 edition of “Cigarette Card News” (Vol.1, No.6) printed a letter from the Hon. Sec. Mr. Wilson, pointing out that although the club was called "The Dublin Cigarette Card Club", it was open to collectors from the Provincial Districts of the Irish Free State, and also to residents of Northern Ireland  The annual subscription for these members was 2/6d, and, in addition, "arrangements [had] been made under which all members will receive special discounts on their purchases of cards when made through the club. Those interested should apply to the Secretary." 

The June 1935 edition of “Cigarette Card News” (Vol.2, No.21) demonstrates that Mr. Wilson was an avid collector, as it contained an article of almost a page in length, entitled “Irish Issues”. This was primarily a list of sets issued in the Irish Free State, which he noted used to be English cards, once they had finished their run at home, but more recently had been purpose-produced sets of Irish interest. He cites Players “Irish Place Names” [first series 1927 - second series 1929] and “Treasures of Ireland” [1930],  plus Wills “Shannon Electric Power Scheme” [March 1931]. After this he says there was a short interlude when both firms resumed sending out the English issues, but then Wills had issued “Irish Holiday Resorts” [May 1930] and “Irish Watering Places”.  This raises an interesting question as the Shannon set is recorded as March 1931 (from Wills own records) but the Holiday Resorts in the second group was issued almost a year earlier. And "Irish Watering Places" is a set I have never heard of and cannot find. Mr Wilson then speaks of sporting cards in a way that you can tell he was not keen, but he does state one fascinating fact which you might not know either, that being that the “positions and movements in [Player`s] Boxing were posed by various Free State Army and Police Boxing Champions”. Actually it says this on the cards but it is worth reporting in case you have not seen the cards.. 

Now later on in 1935, Mr. Wilson wrote a letter to the London Cigarette Card Company, and this was published in "Cigarette Card News" magazine Volume 3 issue 25, published in October 1935. This says, "...with reference to the paragraph about the forming of clubs, I was, you may remember, one of the first, if not actually the first person to form a cigarette card club, so was naturally delighted to see that at least two new clubs are in the process of forming in England. I sincerely hope that these two are forerunners of many more to come. The Dublin Cigarette Card Club, which I had the honour of forming, has been in abeyance for some time past, due to pressure of my official work, amongst other things. However now that new clubs are being formed I shall endeavour to re-open the Dublin Cigarette Card Club and would be very pleased to hear from the Secretaries of other clubs and to exchange views with them. In view of the fact that clubs are being formed in England now, I have decided to confine membership of the Dublin club to collectors in the Irish Free State, although those who were members of the old club may remain as honorary members if they so wish. I suggest that when a sufficient number of clubs have been started that we form a Society, the name of which could be arranged at a later date, my suggestion being The British and International Chartophilic Society."

The two new clubs were, of course, Birmingham Branch and Westbourne Park, both of which were listed in August 1935. I have to say that it would be rather exciting if it were proven that Mr. Wilson both started the first ever cigarette card club and provided the inspiration for our Society! 

Dublin Cigarette Card Club was indeed restarted, around April 1936.  However I do not yet know whether at that time it allied itself to the Cameric Club, which had begun in 1935, or whether it remained totally independent.

And Mr. Wilson, despite being called "the well known Dublin collector" remains very elusive. 




Now although we have no clubs or branches in Ireland at the moment, there have been others in our past, so lets have a chat about them, starting with...

The Northern Ireland Cartophilic Club (1940 ? - 1945 ?)

Little is known of this club, but its first appearance is simply by being listed in the Pen Portrait of C. B. Fairbrother of Croydon, which appears in The Cartophilic Society "Bulletin" magazine  (Vol.1 No.XVI, November 1940, p.129), under item 4. Societies and Clubs that the member belongs to.

We do know they had a club magazine called 'The Raconteur & Cartophilist' which was first issued in October 1940. Issue 2 was in February 1941, Issue 3 in September 1941 and Issue 4 was slightly delayed, so coveredJanuary to March 1942. More on these will follow. 

In the June 1941 edition of "The Bulletin" (Vol.2 No.XXIII) there is a small unheaded piece which simply states that “The Secretary of the Northern Ireland Cartophilic Club, Mr. A. W. Richardson, writes to say that the activities of the club have been curtailed owing to enemy action in Northern Ireland. He says they are not suspended entirely, but he cannot deal with letters, etc, as quickly as he has previously done.”.

Then in September 1941 (Vol.2 No.XXVI), there is an interesting article about John Player & Sons “Cycling”, a series of fifty, prepared for circulation in Ireland. The author is The Hon. Secretary of the Northern Ireland Cartophilic Club Mr. W. S. Richardson, so either these initials are a typo or a relative has taken over. 

The club must have survived for a bit longer as it was also listed in the Pen Portrait of R. C. Allen of Cheshunt, which appears in "The Bulletin" (Vol.4 No.42, January 1943, p.340), again under item 4. Societies and Clubs that the member belongs to. 

And, according to "Cartophilic World" (Vol.3 No.30, August 1945, p.237), the follow up to "The Bulletin", Mr. W.S. Richardson holds another honour in Cartophily, for it was he who discovered the set of Belfast Ship Stores Co. Ltd`s “Dickens Series”, or at least the first card from that set ever recorded. It was the card of Mr. Pecksniff, by the way. 

However that`s where the trail of this club goes cold.




The Cartophilic Society of Ireland (1977 - 1987)

The first mention of this was in the May/June 1977 edition of “Cartophilic Notes and News” (Vol.7, No.75) as part of a Branch Report concerning the Timperley meeting of 17th April, where it says “John Powell (Dublin) wants to know if there are any Irish names for a little gathering over there”. 

Obviously this recce had gone well as in the January/February 1979 edition of “Cartophilic Notes and News” (Vol.8, No.85) this Society appears in the Branch section, giving the dates for 1979 (14 February, 11 April, 13 June, 12 September, 14 November) to take place at the North Star Hotel, in Amiens Street. It also tells us that the Branch Secretary was Mr. J. Powell of Tallaght, Dublin.

We know they were a non-affiliated Branch, and also used to simply call themselves “The Society of Ireland”.

Then in the January/February-March/April 1987 edition of “Cartophilic Notes and News”, No.141/142 they are no longer in the Branch list.




The Dublin Collectors Club (1987 - 1990 ?)

The mystery of the disappearing club above did not take too long to solve as if you look closer at the Branch list, they were still running, they had just changed their name to the Dublin Collectors Club. Mr. J Powell was still listed as secretary, and at the same address. However they now met once a month, on Tuesday nights at 8 pm, and no venue was given, the text only said “Contact Secretary for details”.

We do not yet know what happened but in 1990, “Cigarette Card Monthly” printed that "Dublin is no longer a regular club venue, but there are collectors and card sources, and J Powell [still at the same address] is a fount of all knowledge regarding the scene in Eire". 




The Leinster Card Club (1996 - ?) 

This appears suddenly in Cartophilic Notes and News magazine, March-April 1996 (Vol.21 No.196) where it states that "Dublin Card Club is now defunct. It has been replaced by The Leinster Card Club." The secretary was Laurence Foster of Dublin 12. 

This does not seem to ever be mentioned again. However it does leave a notion that Dublin Collectors Club changed its name to Dublin Card Club, and kept going for another six years. ...