Bagnall, Charles Lane & Dorothy

Colonel Charles Lane Bagnall D.S.O. M.C. T.D. F.P.R.S.I. is considered the Father of Cartophily.

He was born on the 14th of July 1884 in Winlaton, Gateshead, to Thomas William and Emily Florence Bagnall; her maiden name was Lane, so that is how our man comes to have it as a middle name. He was actually a twin, the other son being christened Richard Siddaway. Then in 1886 another son was born and he was christened William Angus. Many thanks to a kind reader who supplied this information from the Gateshead General Registry Office. 

Thomas William Bagnall was a forgemaster at the ironworks he owned, but he died in 1907, by which time the family had relocated to Northumberland. We are not sure how he met his wife, for she had been born in Torquay, but they had married, in 1883, in County Durham. And after his death, she married again, quite some time later though, not until 1916, to a man called John Edward Plender.  She died on 23 April 1932 in Italy, and her husband died in Switzerland in 1945. 

Charles took over his father`s business on his death, though he was only in his early twenties. He married Lottie Taylor in Devon in 1910, (strangely his mother had been born in Devon), and the following year the newlyweds appear in the census for South Hylton, near Sunderland, where he is listed as a Forgemaster Engineman. They had three children, Charles Thomas Milford Bagnall, Dorothy Bagnall, and Richard Siddaway Bagnall.

During the First World War Charles served in the 9th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, which was attached to the 50th Divisional Signalling Company of the Royal Engineers. He was already promoted to Captain "by 1914", so he must have been in the forces before the outbreak of hostilities. His first posting overseas was to France, on the seventeenth of April 1915, and about a year later he was awarded the Military Cross in the 1916 Birthday Honours List. This is featured in the London Gazette of June 3rd, 1916. He was promoted to acting Major in 1917, was mentioned in dispatches on the 21st of May 1918, and received the Distinguished Service Order in 1918, again this appears in the London Gazette of January 1st 1919.

He transferred from the Royal Engineers in 1921, moving to the 50th Northumberland Fusiliers, and was appointed a temporary Major in April 1921. 

Once home, he adjusted by returning to his hobbies. Not only cards, for he was also a keen stamp collector, involved with organising large stamp exhibitions and events, and his personal collections, specialising in stamps of The Ukraine and of Papua, received international Philatelic awards. Then in 1927 he leapt into action and founded the British Cigarette Card Company, a business entirely devoted to selling cigarette and trade cards, which he ran from his house in Wellesley Road, Chiswick. This was almost immediately renamed The London Cigarette Card Company, because there was already a "British". Their first “catalogue of prices” was issued in 1929 and, in 1933, they started a regular magazine for collectors called "Cigarette Card News" which is still issued today, though the company has relocated to Somerset, and the magazine changed its name to “Card Collectors News”.

 In 1937 he featured in a short educational film called "Calling All Cards", which you can see, still, at - it is a newsreel, so quite short, but it is a super film, starting with all manner of cards being tipped from a box onto a table. Watch it, and we are sure you too will be pressing pause and tilting your head to see which cards you can spot ! 

Colonel Bagnall died in 1974, but his legacy lives on, and collectors are still benefiting from his research today.

His daughter Dorothy, (shown in our picture temporarily whilst I scan the proper one) shared his love of cards, and followed him into the Company. Her excellent book “Collecting Cigarette Cards and Other Trade Issues” is also her joyful auto-biography;  published in 1965 by Arco Publications, this is, we are glad to say, widely available at many libraries (including our Society one, where its reference number is C460). Every collector ought to read it. And we really hope you will.