North West

Current status: Active

This is a really thriving branch, and extremely well established. So you might be surprised to learn that our current North West Branch is not our original.

The first mention of a Branch in this area was in 1945, when Cameric Cigarette Card Club literature mentioned the “newly formed Lancashire Branch”. At that time it had nine members. In “Cameric Notes and News Magazine”, Volume 4, new series, no 6, dated December 1949, when they appeared on the back cover within one of the Christmas Greeting advertisement boxes, which reads “Greetings to … YORKSHIRE and LANCASHIRE Members from C. Webster“.

Their next mention is in Volume 6, new series, no 6 dated December 1951, when they appeared on the back cover in a similar advertisement, 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” . We are not certain if this means the others were added in the interim, or Mr. Webster was only in contact with the two Northern Branches.

Fast forward five years and the “Cameric Notes and News” Volume 10, New Series, May 1956 tells us a meeting of Lancashire Branch would be held on Saturday June 9, 1956. They were to meet at 3.15 pm, at a private home in Chislehurst Avenue in Blackpool. The Secretary at that time was Cyril Marsden, who lived near Bolton. The Branch were also stated to be regular exhibitors at the annual Blackpool Hobbies Exhibition.

We believe that when the Cameric and Cartophilic Society merged in 1964, their Lancashire Branch simply became our North West Branch. Cyril Marsden was certainly involved with both. An early President was Frank Easson, with Wills specialist (and later operator of the Society Book Round) Norman Pendlebury of Horwich listed as secretary.

However the first record we have of North West Branch is in 1972, when they advertised they would be holding January and February meetings at the College of Adult Education in Manchester. Both events were very successful, the January having seventeen members attending and the February having eighteen. And the Branch also participated in the Bolton Hobbies Exhibition of that year, which was allied to the Blackpool one but closer to Cyril Marsden`s home.

In 1973 North West seem to have left the College of Adult Education, as according to a yearly schedule list in the Cartophilic Notes and News, it seems that the ordinary meetings were taking place in members homes throughout the area, apart from one at The Premium Bonds Social Club, Lytham St Annes, and another at Somerset Road School, Bolton. Unless these were special events like rallies?

By 1975 they were meeting at St. John`s College in Crown Square Manchester, on Saturdays 8 November and 13 December, from 3 pm, plus a meeting on 23 November at the home of Mr. Crook in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The secretary at this time was still Norman Pendlebury.

In January 1981, according to the Cartophilic Notes and News, they were meeting on the first Sunday of the month through February and March, at Bolton YMCA; by arrangement none of these dates clashed with Timperley or Merseyside – [this is the first mention of a Merseyside Branch?] – and it was agreed that future meetings would have a theme so that cards of a particular type could be exhibited, sold, and swopped.

However during 1981 this version of the North West Branch became absorbed into the Timperley Club. As in turn, that club would become incorporated within the Cheshire Branch [which I guess could be the Merseyside]. But card collecting still flourished in this area, and after almost 30 years, forward stepped Dennis Williams, a member of our Winchester Branch who had newly relocated to the area. With his inspiration breathing new life into dreams of a proper North West Branch, one started to take shape and it rose again in October 2010, when many local dealers and members attended the inaugural meeting.

Sadly the brilliant start would peter out due to difficulties with venues and meeting times, and membership slowly declined. Dennis Williams died a few years later. But his dreams remained, and we are sure he heartily approved when our current Branch Secretary took the reins in 2012

Before coronavirus restrictions, our meetings took place once a month, running from 4 – 8 pm at Barton Village Hall, Garstang Road, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire PR3 5HE. This was an excellent venue, a modern building in a very attractive setting with lots of parking on site. In fact it was frequently used for antique related events, and an Antiques and Collectors Fair was held there fortnightly on Sundays, starting at 9.30am. Did any of you ever find any cards there? If so, drop us a line!

[Our featured card is a silk, one of the Town Arms, issued by BDV in 1918. The Lamb is the Lamb of St. Wilfrid, Patron Saint of Preston. There are two letters “P.P.” which locals believe stand for “Proud Preston”. Sadly that is not the case, as the original arms had three “P”s, and when the coat of arms was modernised, one was removed to make it balance better; at the same time the lamb was changed to a laying down position rather than a standing one. The same lamb, but with a cross, is actually used on the Preston North End Football Club badge – and you might not know that that football club was originally a cricket club!]

And many thanks to “Captain Bob” for his assistance!