Nottingham & East Midlands

Current status: Active

A quick chat about our meetings : 

Nottingham & East Midlands Branch meet on the fourth Thursday of every other month, from 7.30 until 9.30 pm. at the West Bridgford Conservative Club, Rectory Road, West Bridgford NG2 6BG. 


How we began - a look back through our archives :

In 1998, which was the Cartophilic Society`s Sixtieth Anniversary, their Annual General Meeting and Convention was held at the Harvey Hadden Centre in Nottingham - and here is the Commemorative card for that event :

1998 Convention Commemorative Card

You will notice that there is no word on this card about a local branch.

In fact,  it was just coincidence that the event was in Nottingham, even though the area seems one of the spiritual homes of Cartophily, being the home of one of the most prolific card issuers, John Player & Sons, and of the castle on the hill which not only features on our commemorative card, but was also used on the backs of many early cards by the issuer, as well as in its advertising. 

Now we have been having a little dig, and it appears that though this event led to renewed interest in cards in the Nottingham area, it was not until 1998 that an actual Nottingham Branch was founded. The collectors behind this mighty effort were Tim Davidson and David Hunter. At that time Tim Davidson was working for Vennett-Smith Auctions which were based in Nottingham, and David Hunter was just embarking on his series of excellent "Famous Regiments on Cigarette and Trade Cards" books.

The first meeting took place on Thursday the 25th of June, 1998, at Gotham Village Hall. It was attended  by about twenty local collectors. Most of the night was set aside for discussions as to what those attending would like to see at future meetings,  which was noted as "displays, guest dealers, swaps, lectures and refreshments."  There were cards at this first meeting too though - Mr. Vennett-Smith brought along some highlights of his forthcoming auction, which were eagerly examined, and there was also a chance to have a look at some of the lots from the Branch Postal Auction which was to take place in August. David Hunter also brought his stock of better odds, priced keenly, to sell, so becoming the first ever Nottingham Branch dealer.  They also set the date for the second meeting as Thursday the 17th of September, at the same venue. 

At some time, not too long after this, we have a note of the meeting being bi-monthly, on Thursdays, at 7.30 - 9.30 pm, at the Royal British Legion Club, but still in Gotham. No note, yet, of why it was changed to there. We do know that this building was not always the Royal British Legion, for at the start of the Second World War it was a small thatched blacksmith`s shed. However, when the war was over and the menfolk were back they started to gather together there, so much so that when it burned down in the 1950s it was rebuilt as a proper club for all local ex-services personnel as part of the Royal British Legion.

The next move was to West Bridgford Conservative Club, 28 Rectory Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6BG. We still kept to the same day and start time, (though some members liked to get there earlier), but closed earlier at 9pm. There was a guest dealer at every meeting, and members were encouraged to come along and exchange their unwanted cards. There were an average of around 10 to 12 members each time, and good time to have a look at all of the cards on offer without feeling too overwhelmed or panicked, as well as do a few exchanges, and enjoy a good chat.

In 2006, Nottingham Branch again hosted the Cartophilic Society` National Convention and Annual general Meeting, and this was the commemorative card given away in that year.

2006 Convention Commemorative Card

The line drawing on the front is John Player`s first ever tobacco factory. Strangely he was not a local man, he had been born in Saffron Walden, Essex, and only came to Nottingham in the early 1860s, to take a job as a clerk in a drapers shop. This seems to have bored him quickly, and he took on a shop, as an agency selling agricultural goods, manures and seeds - and as a little sideline, he sold tobacco. It did not take long before the sales of tobacco outstripped the agency goods.

The next decade was hectic, he had a wife, and two sons, the last of whom was born in 1866, and a retail shop. in Market Street, which had opened in 1874, but, in 1877, he also acquired a factory in Broad Marsh, in order to produce his own tobacco. Contrary to some reports, he did not build it himself, he bought it, off another tobacco producer, William Wright. It proved its worth quickly, and in the following year he was able to open another shop, in Market Street.  Then in 1881 he bought land in Radford, and erected three more factories there. One of these became The Castle Tobacco Factory, and it opened in 1884, the other two were leased on a temporary basis until such time as his business needed all three. And that happened in 1900. 

2019 Convention Commemorative Card

The hat-trick for the Branch came in 2019, after a quick change, when they were advised to move from the original venue of a former television studio now part of Nottingham University, to the De Vere Jubilee Conference Centre. 

Luckily this change was made before the commemorative cards shown here were produced, but you can see that some advertising materials had already been produced, and issued, with the wrong venue, you can see those at Cartophilic Info Exchange/2019-AGM

This year`s event saw another first, the premiere of the Society`s new “swap area” scheme, where anyone could bring in Pokémon and Panini/Match Attax 2018/19 season cards and swap them for others they needed. The scheme was mainly to attract new younger collectors, but a range of ages were interested, and the tables saw steady swapping all day. 

The East Midlands Branch - 2000?

If you were thinking that the title of the current Branch was a catch-all to attract more collectors from throughout the region, well you would be wrong. For at some time there was an "East Midlands Branch" all on its own. The first record I have of this right now is in the Card Times magazine for January 2000, where there is a listing for "East Midlands Branch" meeting at the Brunswick Inn in Derby, on January 7th and March 6th 2000, both of which were Mondays. 

Yet to discover is when the East Midlands Branch was actually absorbed into the Nottingham Branch, at which time it became Nottingham and East Midlands Branch, the name it still carries to this day. So we will keep you updated with our research