HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HANTS & DORSET BRANCH!
For the Hants and Dorset Branch of the Cartophilic Society started on 17 November 1976, or at least that was the date of an inaugural meeting with just six members of the Cartophilic Society at the home of Barry Pliskin, who was serving as the Secretary. And here is their first ever mention in print – extracted from the Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.7, No.75, May/June 1977 (page 2151)
Mr. Pliskin collected film star cards, mostly Foreign, by which he meant the issuers, not the personalities shown thereon. He also wrote several articles about the “Talkie”, or "Record" Tobacco Company, whose issues were not cards, but records, much like the forerunner of the podcast, short interviews by prominent personalities, and which could be played at your leisure on your gramophone. He remained as Secretary until the end of 1978. Then the Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.8, No.85, January/February 1979 (page 2507) tells us that the Secretary was now C.M.H. Kerslake of Ferndown, Dorset, and that the 1979 meetings were to be held on the first Saturday of every other month, commencing at 2.30 p.m. To find out where, you had to phone the Secretary on the number given. I am fairly sure that this was the Secretary’s own home, plus selected “days out” to other members of that Branch, just as it had been with Mr. Pliskin.
In Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.8, No.92, March/April 1980 (page 2711), there is an article by Mr. Karslake, now revealed to be called Charles. This tells his life story, starting with the first cards he remembered owning (John Player “Struggles for Existence”) and those owned by his older brother (Wills “Military Motors” and “Allied Army Leaders”). His cards came from adult relatives and there was much schoolboy swapping, though he says that “Player “Miniatures” … was collected mainly from my grandmother’s chauffeur during a summer holiday at Danny Park in Sussex”. By 1933 he, himself, was a smoker, Wills and Players, and collected all the current sets thereafter. In 1937 he had begun a correspondence with Mr. B.C. Ribbons of Norwich, who sent out approvals. He tells of three sets that he still (in 1980) had “in the wrappings” these were : American Tobacco Co. Collection of Flag Series (Very Rare) Unlisted - Muratti Cigarette Co 2 Complete (Extra Large) Actresses (Very Rare) Unlisted - Messouri 2 Complete cards (Rare) Calendar Backs Unlisted. As well as approvals from Norwich there were dozens of lists every week from other collectors wishing to exchange cards.
War intervened, but after the war, he regained contact with Mr Ribbons, and his shop in Victoria Street. For the next twenty years, things were static, and then the Hants and Dorset Branch was launched, about a dozen collectors, and once more there was a great deal of swapping going on. Barry Pliskin, it is revealed, could not continue as Secretary, and eventually Mr Karslake, who was at that time the treasurer, agreed to step in until time or circumstance found someone else for the Secretaryship. He much enjoyed being Secretary, but the one thing he regretted was that in his official capacity, when he wrote to other branches asking about liaison, or about including them in his swapping loop, none replied.
In May/June 1981, Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.9, No.92, (page 2938), tells us that the meetings have moved, they are now on the second Saturday of every other month, but the venue still not listed.
In Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.9 No.101, July/August 1981 (page 2945), Mr. Karslake pays tribute to the Chairman of the Branch, Mr. R. L. Torrens, “one of the stalwarts of this area [who] was particularly active when local cartophilists produced their own publication “The Bournemouth Cartophilic Echo”. Unfortunately Mr Karslake did not know him in those days, he only met him when the new Branch was founded, but he wished that it had been sooner, and would miss him sadly.
The same piece tells that the Branch had ten new members, mostly from the Southampton area, all of whom had been invited to the next meeting on the 13th of June.
Mr. Karslake continued as Secretary until the beginning of 1982, then I believe he became the Chairman. Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.10, No.108, March 1982 (page 3086), sees the Secretary listed as Roy H. Wheeler, of Wimborne in Dorset BH21 3LX. Roy Wheeler was a long term Cartophilic Councillor, who had recently moved in a southerly direction from his home in Pinner in Middlesex, and he had been the Society Secretary and Librarian for many years. The practise of contacting the secretary for the venue remained until Cartophilic Notes and News Vol.11, No.122, November/December1983 (page 3422), where there was a 1984 Branch Calendar containing a declared venue of Corfe Mullen Village Hall, Wareham Road, Corfe Mullen in Dorset. This hall was located directly behind the Co-Op.
In November 1984 the Branch issued a set of twenty cards, entitled “Hants & Surrey Branch Personalities”. This was a limited edition of 200 sets, each set contained a twenty-first card which was signed by Roy Wheeler (Hon Secretary) and by C. Karslake (Chairman), both of whom were featured in the set, and carried the official number of that particular set. I don`t have a set but if anyone does and would like to scan some cards front and back please do - and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1997, the Branch had been one of three co-hosting the Cartophilic Convention, held at the Guildhall in Southampton on Saturday April 26th ; the other two branches were Hants and Surrey and Winchester and Solent. All are mentioned on the most attractive commemorative card showing three ocean liners, a familiar sight in the area, from a wonderful drawing by Paul Merchant.
In the 1990s it was decided not to have Branch details in every issue of the Cartophilic Notes and News, which makes things rather sketchy for me. Normal service was resumed for July/August 2004 (Vol 28, No.4, page 122) so at that time Hants and Dorset were still meeting at Corfe Mullen Village Hall from 2 p.m. till 4.30 p.m. and the secretary had become Mr Chris Pozzetti of Bournemouth.
At some time after that the Branch moved to St. Pauls Church Hall, (next to ASDA), Culliford Crescent, Canford Heath, Poole, BH17 9DW. Monthly meetings ran from 1.30 – 4.30 pm and often included local and national dealers, plus they also encouraged members to bring spare cards for disposal. Things were going along swimmingly, until they realised their April 2020 meeting clashed with Easter Sunday so it was moved it to the following week - however world events intervened and that meeting was never held.
Before this Branch , there were others in the area. The earliest was :
Westbourne Park Club : Cameric Club : August 1935 - 1939?
In the August 1935 edition of The London Cigarette Card Company`s "Cigarette Card News" (Vol.2 No.23 p.125) there is a small section entitled CLUBS, and it says: “We [The Cameric Club] have been requested by the organisers of proposed clubs in the Birmingham and Westbourne Park districts to place them in touch with those likely to be interested. On hearing from any of our readers, we shall be pleased to forward their names to the Hon. Secretaries of the proposed organisations, and we shall also be glad to extend the same facilities to organisers of clubs in other districts, if any such care to communicate with the Editor. We further propose to devote some space monthly to "Club Notes and News," and trust to hear regularly from club secretaries in this connection.”
This address might suggest London, and for some time it was classified as so in my records, but I am now fairly certain that this was in fact the start of the Bournemouth Branch.
Bournemouth Branch : Cameric Club : 1939 - ??
The first mention of an actual “Bournemouth Branch” was in March 1939 (CCN Vol.6, No.66, p.109), when in “Around the Clubs” it states “THE CAMERIC CIGARETTE CARD CLUB. - Branch meetings are now being held at different centres throughout the country. Members wishing to attend these meetings should get in touch with the respective Branch Secretaries for details of date and place of meeting”. The list was in alphabetical order so second up was Bournemouth (The others were Birmingham and Hastings). The Branch Secretary for Bournemouth was given as J Curtis, Holme Dene, Poole Road, Bournemouth, who appears as E.J.B. Curtis in the Cartophilic Society membership roll for 1949-1950, (Cartophilic World, Vol.8, No.80, Oct.1949, inside back cover). The article concluded with “Members not residing in any of the above areas and wishing to hold their own branch meetings should apply to the Secretary [of the Cameric, A.E. Cherry] for details. Applications can only be considered from members living in towns.” (Not sure why this was?)
Now the interesting thing about this is that Branch Secretary, and his address in Poole Road, because that is in the area which is today comes under the Westbourne District. And sadly, though the Hon. Secretaries of those proposed clubs were mentioned in 1935, their names were not, hence the mystery.
The Bournemouth Branch then seems to immediately disappear, but in March 1944, in The Bulletin (Vol.2. No.17, p.136) it says “Branch Meetings at Bournemouth and Liverpool are held at regular intervals”. There is no mention of Birmingham, nor Hastings.
Then comes something most intriguing, in The Cartophilic World Vol.4, No.38, issued in April 1946, where at the top of page 302, as part of the report of the meeting of Council held on the 26th of February, 1946 it says : “Bournemouth Members. The Council had before it a letter from Mr. Curtis (member) of Bournemouth, giving details of recent activities of the Bournemouth members, who meet regularly each month, and have delivered lectures to various local bodies. The Council expressed approval and gratitude for the interest and keenness of the Bournemouth Members.”
As gratifying as this approval was, it was not what the Bournemouth members wanted, because in the Cartophilic World Vol.4 No.40, issued in June 1946, on page 325, another letter is mentioned as having been considered at the Council meeting of Tuesday 9 April. This appears as “Correspondence. A letter from the Bournemouth members was considered, in which it was stated they (The Bournemouth members) were desirous of forming themselves into a branch of the Society. The Council were in agreement with the proposal, and promised all help with lecturers, etc., but owing to the legal difficulties could not consent to an official branch of the Society being formed.” And in case, like me, you were thinking they had closed as a Cameric Branch, well no - for in Cameric Notes and News, Volume 1, new series, issue 13, dated May 1947, there is a mention of a new member at their Branch meeting; so they obviously just intended to be members of the Cartophilic as well.
Their next mention comes in The Cartophilic World Vol.5, No.55, issued in September 1947, when on page 508 it states that “THE BOURNEMOUTH CARTOPHILIC ECHO is a casualty, which is a matter for great regret. It was lively, fresh and welcome, and deserved a better fate. Only the ever-increasing wave of costs has put it into cold storage, from which we hope it will emerge again when times are more rational. We, too, have anxieties, as our printing bill mounts as month succeeds month, but could cure our troubles by an enlarged membership….” The Bournemouth Cartophilic Echo was the club magazine, and in 1960, within Cartophilic World vol.13 no.145, it gives a library listing of their being “four issues, complete, bound as one volume.” However the Branch themselves did keep going, without their magazine, as in Cameric Notes and News, Volume 6, new series, no 6, dated December 1951, they appeared on the back cover, as part of the Christmas feature, which reads “The Lancashire, Yorkshire, Reading and Bournemouth Branches join with their London Camericans in wishing their President – Mr Blows, a Merry and well earned Christmas” I have to say I had not heard of the expression “Camericans” before! In 1952, these same four Branches were mentioned, and three years later it is still going strong, when an advertisement for the Cameric Society in “Cigarette Card News” (Vol.21 No.241 July/August 1955) lists five Branches including “Bournemouth”. And though in a list of Branches in the “Cameric Notes and News” Volume 10, New Series, May 1956, Bournemouth is not mentioned, this could just have been an oversight, because in “Cigarette Card News” September / December 1956 (vol.21 No.248/9) the advertisements read “Branches in Lancashire (Manchester), Yorkshire (Leeds), Birmingham, Bournemouth, Edinburgh and Reading”
A bit more information appears in July-August 1956, in “The Cartophilic World” Vol. 11, No.124, p.1661 as part of an obituary for Mr L. G. Prince in April 1956. He is recorded as “a keen and enthusiastic cartophilist and friend, [and] a member of the Council … for a short period until illness prevented his attendance, and he was a great help to us in the preparation of our earlier booklets. There was always a cheery welcome waiting for any collectors who visited his home in Bournemouth and he founded the local branch of the Cameric Club there.”
So the next step is to find out more about Mr. Prince !