Winchester and Solent (1983)

Current status: Active

Welcome to the Winchester & Solent Home Page 


Winchester and Solent Branch meet on a regular basis once a month at Botley Market Hall, High Street, Botley, near Southampton SO30 2EA. 

Originally built in 1850, this hall is right in the centre of the village, with a car park to the rear. It was refurbished in 2012 to give access for all, including a stairlift. 

We are one of the branches which split our meeting schedule into all day fairs which open at 10 am and include an auction starting at 2 pm - and the slightly less hectic afternoon only meetings, from 1.30 through to 4.15 pm, which allow for new, or prospective members time to find out more about cards, collecting. and their local branch.

Our 2024 calendar is :    

* Sunday MAY 5th - All Day Fair
* Sunday June 2nd - afternoon     
* Sunday July 7th - afternoon
* Sunday August 4th - afternoon
* Sunday September 1st - afternoon
* Sunday October 6th - afternoon
Sunday NOVEMBER 3rd - All Day Fair
* Sunday December 1st - afternoon



We were founded in 1983, after several Society members had suggested we try to organise a branch based on either Winchester or Southampton. Though there were branches in that area already, we found out that sixty members of the Cartophilic Society lived in South Hampshire. So an advertisement appeared in the Society magazine, saying an inaugural meeting was to be held in Winchester on February the 12th 1983. Eighteen members came, a further twelve having been interested but otherwise engaged that night. The first job was to agree on a club name which would not include Hampshire, to avoid confusion with the two other branches, namely Hants and Surrey and Hants and Dorset. And it was decided to meet on the first Friday evening of each month.

For the first three years, these meetings took place in the Peninsula Barracks in Winchester. Our room at the “Light Infantry Barracks” was free of rent, which is why at that time we charged no subscriptions. The last meeting was held in January 1986; this was due to change within the ranks, the Barracks were being closed and the Light Division moved to a new depot on the outskirts of Winchester. To say goodbye, a special commemorative card was issued, which, unsurprisingly, is much sought after by militaria collectors. The front of this shows a reproduction of a card first issued by Churchman in 1934 as part of a set called “Well Known Ties”. Both show the barracks, and the Greenjackets regimental tie, but there are differences between the two so have a look and see if you can spot them. This is a most attractive set, and one which so few collectors seem to know of. But do be aware that the set has been reprinted more recently.

Anyway, the next move was to the Parish Hall, Littleton, which is just three miles north west of Winchester; and now the Branch was paying room rent.  It was refurbishmed some time later, and is now the Millennium Memorial Hall

In April 1987, our branch was offered free accommodation, in The Eagle Hotel in Winchester, which was a central location, at the junction of Swan Lane and Andover road, right near the railway station, and next door to the site of a Roman Cemetery. It was a very strange experience all round, the room seemed very small, with a strange closed-in feeling, and the dim lighting was really not suitable for examining cards, so our first month at The Eagle was also our last. When the hotel closed in the year 2000, to convert into flats, many of us felt a shiver, for during conversion works the skeleton of a young Roman female was discovered just beneath the building in a lead coffin. 

In May 1987 we had another move, to the local Conservative Club; this was a huge room, and the rent was small, but the room was only available on a Thursday, which did not suit our regulars, so it was decided to return and investigate the Littleton Parish Hall. They welcomed us back and even agreed to us paying the same rent. This lasted some time, and there was an average of 45 paid up members, all of whom paid £3 a year membership. At this time the committee was Mike Harding (chair), Roy Heskins, (treasurer) Terry Cross (secretary), and Lew Shotton, who was co-opted because he was doing such good work as the auctioneer. Dennis Williams was President.

In 1993 another commemorative card was issued. We were not sure what to use as a subject until shown a set of twelve cards originally issued by A & C Fincken, who had made “Force” breakfast cereals. One of these showed the aeroplane which had won the Schneider Trophy outright for England in September 1931; it was a very attractive card and also relevant to the area, plus it showed an ocean liner which was, and is still a familiar sight. The original cards were not really cards at all, they were more of a paper issue, which explains why they are so scarce. The only other sale I can find of those originals was way back in 2013, when a set was sold at Special Auction ServicesAnd if anyone out there pays for a subscription to invaluable and can unlock the hidden info, please tell us what it sold for.

In 1997, this were one of three co-hosting branches involved with the Cartophilic Convention, which was held at the Southampton Guildhall; the other two branches were Hants and Dorset and Hants and Surrey. And 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.

1997 Convention Commemorative Card

On October 26th, 1997 we held a fair and auction at The County Cricket Club, Northlands Road, Southampton. This was advertised in the "Card Times" Magazine but it does not say it was the first at that venue, but it also does not mention it being a Quarterly Fair. It does say that there were visiting dealers and a 300+ lot auction. 

A year later we were still there, at least for an all day fair and auction. The advertisement for this appears in the Card Times magazine of October 1998, and it also adds the starting time of 10 am. There were again 300+ lots, and catalogues were available by post from D. Williams of Winchester, these cost 75p and included first class postage. 

We are not sure why it was decided to hold the Autumn 2007 All Day Fair at Botley, but everyone took to the venue immediately and all made the decision that they would like to make it their new permanent meeting place.

A tinted photograph of Botley Town Hall, c.1900.
A tinted photograph of Botley Town Hall, c.1900.

So in 2008 we moved out of the Littleton Village Hall, where we had met for over twenty years, and started the next stage of our story at Botley Market Hall, High Street, Botley, near Southampton SO30 2EA. This was originally built in 1850, its right in the centre of the village, but it still has a car park to the rear. Our miniature-style image is actually the centre section of a vintage postcard issued by F.G.O. Stuart at the turn of the last century, but it is amazing how little the exterior has changed in that time, and we are delighted to say that its excellent preservation has led to it becoming a Grade 2 Listed Building.

It was refurbished sympathetically in 2012 to include the large main hall and the smaller room upstairs that we use for our branch meetings, and we are delighted to say the building was also made fully accessible for all our visitors,

In 2020 we again planned to co-host the Cartophilic Society`s Annual Convention in Salisbury along with our neighbours from the Hants and Dorset Branch, and to make this the biggest convention ever. Little did we know that covid was waiting in the wings with other ideas. Not only the Convention was cancelled, but also our meetings, even our Autumn fair, and then we just gave up on our entire calendar and hoped we would be allowed to return in 2022. But in the meantime we announced that we would be holding quarterly postal auctions.