Midlands Branch

Current status: Active

Welcome to the Midlands Branch Home Page 


Our Midlands Branch meet regularly from 7 – 9 pm at Cofton Hackett Village Hall, Barnt Green Road, Birmingham, B45 8BN. It is an excellent venue with easy access to many motorways


In 1964 the Cartophilic Society and the Cameric Cigarette Card Club merged. And in the first ever edition of the newly created "Cartophilic Notes and News" magazine, January/February 1965, Volume 1, Number 1, there was the following announcement : 

BRANCHES. Members who were not previously members of the Cameric Club are, of course, now entitled to attend any Branch Meeting of the Cameric and are assured a very hearty welcome. If you live anywhere near London, Leeds, Manchester or Birmingham, do go along and introduce yourself. You will find them a friendly crowd. Spend an enjoyable evening and acquire a few cards for your collection." 

The branches given were not actually correct, for it referred to their meeting places not their proper names, so "Birmingham" was actually Midlands Branch, and the Secretary was L. Higgs.  For many years it had been Dr. Millen, but he retired as Secretary in July 1964 due to the increasing pressure of his medical work. Monthly meetings were held at Arden Hotel, Birmingham. Mr. Alan Willis, the Branch auctioneer, died on the 22nd of April 1965; his wife had also died recently. 

By May 1966 our meetings were the third Thursday in every month at Crown Hotel, Corporation Street, Birmingham, starting at 6.30 pm. In July 1966, at the AGM, all officers were re-elected, that was Mr N.J. Allcock as Chairman, Mr Leslie Higgs as Secretary, Mr F G Baker as Treasurer and Mr J.J. Powell as Auctioneer. We also had Mr. W.A. Wilson and he dealt with new issues. Average monthly attendance was fifteen per meeting, and at that meeting it was reported that there were two new members and two in the pipeline, also we had moved venues in January, to cheaper premises, making the balance very healthy.

In 1967 our 129th meeting took place; 16 members attended plus a Mr. Walton from Aldershot who happened to be in Birmingham (he would go on to become our President) and a Master Laker, a junior member (he would go on to work for the London Cigarette Card Company), who had brought along a school friend who also hoped to join the Society (but sadly I do not know who that was). There was an auction, with material contributed by the chairman Mr. Allcock, and he also gave one or two items to all the junior members.

Our first Midlands Branch Rally was in 1968. The Crown Hotel remained the venue for 1970, and the Birmingham Rally, on Saturday 11 April 1970 was at the Oliver Bird Hall, Church Hill Road, Solihull, about 4-5 miles from the Birmingham City Centre, with lunch being arranged at a local hostelry. There would be an exhibition of silks and fabric issues. Sadly this was not very well attended, maybe because we had been forced to change the date because of alterations to the FA Cup Final so it was now 2 May. We were going to try a buffet at the Rally, 15/- a person and it would be arranged by a firm of caterers. I have the menu! As a postcript to this the date of 2nd May was then found to be the same as the North West Branch, who had also moved their date because of the Cup Final, but they agreed to switch to the 9th.

Dr. J.H. Millen died in 1970. At his first ever meeting, all those years ago, he had met Cyril Marsden and the two had become good friends; strangely the  passing of Cyril Marsden was reported in the very same issue of the Society magazine. Our AGM was held on 16 July 1970, seventeen members attended including two visitors, E.C. Prior and T.F. Halford. The Chairman hoped the rally in Solihull would be repeated in 1971. The treasurer F.G. Baker said the Branch was in a healthy state, though the Rally had eaten into its finances. A decision had been made, perhaps because of this, to introduce the club book round and W.Preece again agreed to organise it. The meeting concluded with a small auction of material contributed by Ted Prior.

Our 1972 Rally took place at the Oliver Bird Hall in Solihull, on 20 May. Advertising of the time stresses that there was to be no buffet; this was entirely owing to the difficulty of estimating the correct number of prospective visitors, the two preceding luncheons having made a loss for this reason. Between 1973 and 1976 the Branch was meeting on the third Friday of every month, from 6.30 pm, at Crown Hotel in Corporation Street, Birmingham; the secretary was listed as Mr Follard of West Bromwich. 

In 1980, the Rally was held at Womborne Youth and Community Centre, near Wolverhampton, and the branch AGM was also held there on 28 June. At some stage we moved to Selly Oak Methodist Church Hall, and meetings lessened to the third Friday of alternate months, though we kept to the 6.30 pm start time. We were still there in the year 2000, then we moved a short distance away to our current venue, Cofton Hackett Village Hall. 

Midlands Branch Minutiae

You might like to know that we are one of the Branches that have issued our own cards. One of these sets is standard sized, and follows the familiar theme of showing “Branch Personalities”. There are twelve in the set and it was issued at the Branch Rally on the 29th of March 1987. Some sets can be found with a hand stamp to that effect but other sets were presumably left in stock and were not stamped. 

The other is the large sized 1991 issue “Silhouettes of Veteran and Vintage Cars” a set of 24. We are not sure why this subject was chosen, we thought it might perhaps mark the opening of the Birmingham Motor Museum, but that was not until 1993.





But this story starts further back than our current Midlands Branch ..... with

The Cameric Cigarette Card Club - Birmingham Branch - 1939 - ??

This first appears in a small section entitled CLUBS in the August 1935 edition of "Cigarette Card News” (Vol.2, No.23) where it states: “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.”

I next pick them up in March 1939 when “Cigarette Card News” (Vol.6, No.66) states within their “Around the Clubs” section that “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”. Birmingham, by way of alphabetical order, was listed first. (The others were Bournemouth and Hastings). The Branch Secretary for Birmingham was given as L. Jobey, 59 Castleford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham 11. 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.”




The Cameric Cigarette Card Club - Birmingham Branch - 1956 - ??

I have a big gap there, but in the July-August 1956 edition of “The Cartophilic World” (Vol. 11, No.124), it reports that there “was a definite decision to form a Birmingham Branch of the Cameric Club” at the Club`s Annual meeting in Birmingham on 26 May 1956.  However there could be a missing word, and it could refer to the Branch below....



The Cameric Cigarette Card Club - New Birmingham Branch - 1956 - ??

Our first appearance was in the July-August 1956 edition of “The Cartophilic World” (Vol. 11, No.124), where it says that an inaugural meeting of the Cameric Club`s "New Birmingham Branch" was convened by Dr. J.H. Millen and Mr. J.J. Powell on Thursday 14th June, at the Cambridge Inn, Cambridge Street, Birmingham, with the intention of forming a Midlands Branch of the club. 

J.J. Powell is in the Cartophilic Society membership roll for 1949-1950 at 33 Highbridge Road, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield. However Dr. Millen does not appear. It takes until “The Cartophilic World” : Vol.11, No.1677 to sort this out, for under “New Members”. on the inside front cover, there suddenly appears “MILLEN, Dr. James Hastings, 511 Fox Hollies Road, Birmingham 28.” This means he must have only a member of the Cameric Club before this date, not the Cartophilic Society.

That inaugural meeting saw seventeen members present, including two from London, one from Blackpool, one from Sale and one from Stoke on Trent. I believed the Blackpool member was Cyril Marsden, but it was not as the piece goes on to say: “Apologies for absence and good wishes to the new Branch were received from Mr. Gore, Mrs. Button and Mr. Stevenson, and Cyril Marsden the Honorary Secretary of the Lancashire Branch, and Miss Dorothy Bagnall of the London Cigarette Card Company also write and expressed their best wishes for the future prosperity of the Branch”. Mr Powell was elected Chairman, Dr Millen as Secretary and Treasurer and Mr. A. Willis as Auction Secretary, because the immediate intention was to hold a monthly auction, and in fact at the end of that inaugural meeting a small auction of cards took place, selling cards donated by members. This was in order to raise funds for promoting the Branch by way of an intensive recruiting campaign, plus advertising in the local press and at information centres like libraries throughout the City, The next meeting was also announced to take place at the same address on Thursday the 12th July at 7.30 pm. 

July/August 1959`s “Cartophilic World”  details the Cameric Club`s Annual Rally, which had taken place on the 30th of May. Over 90 members and friends sat down to luncheon for about half an hour. The most important thing for us is that it is noted that “The Birmingham Branch of the Cameric Club put on a very good display of cards entitled Pageant of Cartophily. The arrangements were in the capable hands of Dr. J. H. Millen.” In The Cartophilic Notes and News (Vol.1 No.2 March/April 1965 p.34) a lot more is told of that Birmingham Rally. In fact it did not visit Birmingham every year, it toured. In 1965 it was on Saturday May 29, they sat down to lunch at 1.30, (costing 12/6 a head) then the hosts, Birmingham Branch, put on a short presentation and a display of cards. Many Branch Secretaries arranged coach parties up there, including London Branch, which left from Croydon at 8.30 am (Fred Piper, the organiser of the rally, who had just rejoined the Council, being based in Croydon) and called in at Victoria at 9, then took the M1 to Birmingham, arriving about 1.15. They left Birmingham at 6pm for home.




The Birmingham Card Club - 1997 - 1998?

Considering I have no other record of this I have found quite a large write up about it in the Card Times magazine for October 1997. It does not seem to be connected with any of the others either. So anyone who remembers it, and can shed a little light, please do. The article reads : 

MEANWHILE the Birmingham Card Club are holding their second fair of the year at the Shirley Institute, The first one in March attracted 25 dealers and more than 200 visitors. 
Club chairman Peter Lyndon explains "Our policy is to try and attract dealers not normally seen in the area, and we have achieved this again with six of the ten cigarette card dealers booked in being new to the club.
The club caters for postcard and phone card collectors as well as cigarette and trade cards, and are keen to attract new members. Meetings are usually held at St Leonard`s Church Hall in Marston Green with speakers such as well known dealer and fair organiser David Hunter who is talking on military cards at their Armistice Day meet on November 11. Further details of the fair can be obtained from Peter 

Now this raises a few interesting questions, Peter Lyndon being unknown to me, and David Hunter being called only a dealer and fair organiser, with not a mention of our Nottingham and East Midlands Branch, which we believe he founded in the 1990s. 

birmingham Oct 87

I have now been sent an advertisement for a later fair, also at the Shirley Institute.

This appeared in the October 1998 edition of Card Times Magazine, and provides the full address plus the opening times.

Having fifty tables proves that it was quite a substantial fair to have disappeared from the memory so quickly. 

So if you remember going there, or anything else about this club please let us know.