Sixty years of the GBPS


Latest Posts
Stamp Guide
Alderney postboxes
14 February 2024
Stamp Guide
Marine Mosacis from Isle of Man
31 January 2024
Stamp Guide
'Typically Dutch' cows on new stamps
24 January 2024
Stamp Guide
150th anniversary of the GSPCA
24 January 2024
Stamp Guide
Norfolk Island's Humpback whale
22 January 2024
Stamp Guide
Hong Kong postal HQ on stamps
17 January 2024
20 January 2015
As Stampex plays host to the Great Britain Philatelic Society’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations, Janet Bygate provides a history of the organisation which has gone from strength to strength over the past six decades ...
Sixty years ago, notices appeared in the philatelic press with the announcement that it was proposed to form a Great Britain Stamp Society and interested parties were invited to attend an initial meeting to be held at the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL).

The inaugural meeting in 1955 was attended by 48 people; 28 philatelists enrolled in the Great Britain Philatelic Society and the Society’s council and officials were elected.

In January 1956 the first AGM was held when the Society’s constitution and administration were agreed, with Major KM Beaumont elected President, a post he held until 1964. The aim of the Society was to further the study of British philately.

The first Study Circles commenced in 1956 (George V, 1887 Jubilee, QV 1d reds) and in December of that year the Society began its publishing programme with the issue to over 100 members of The GB Journal (GBJ). Concentrating on original articles on research and in-depth studies by members, the GBJ is now issued bi-monthly and is accompanied by the Newsletter which was launched in 1968 and carries Society news, wants, queries and opinions of members on a variety of subjects.

Described as ‘the first of a series of pamphlets’, the booklet A Study of the Stamps of the Reign of King Edward VIII was issued in 1958. This was the forerunner of an ongoing publishing programme which includes revision of early publications and volumes by members recording details of new research, adding significantly to philatelic knowledge.

In 1960 the Society manned a stand and held a meeting at an International Exhibition for the first time with seventeen members receiving awards at the exhibition. Members’ competitive spirit had stirred and annual competitions were introduced in 1961. These have expanded over time and are well attended with exhibits of a high standard. Attendance at International Exhibitions both at home and abroad continues and for London 1980 the Society was one of the sponsoring societies with members actively involved in planning and organising the event.

By 1963 membership had increased to 275 and in that year the first regional meeting was held at Peterborough. GBPS continues to hold regional meetings as often as possible, the most recent being at Lancaster and York.

An increase in the interest of postal history was noted in the late 1960s by the editor of the GBJ as articles being received were in equal numbers with all other subjects put together, however, with the increase in new stamp issues in the early 1970s this trend eased a little.

It was during the 1970s that a scheme ran whereby members of the GBPS also received copies of the Philatelic Journal of Great Britain, with the intent to broaden the information of interest to collectors of British philately.

The 1980s saw the steady issue of new books of philatelic interest by members. In 1985, Alan Huggins, who had held editorial duties for the GBJ from 1962, passed these onto Michael Jackson, who still holds the post of Editor.

In the 1990s the Society said goodbye to many early members who had done so much for the Society, including RAG Lee, the founder of GBPS.

Into the 21st century
The GBPS continues to go from strength to strength. The Society has gathered together a large library for the use of members and the website is proving to be very popular, particularly with members using the discussion boards.

Today the GBPS has a world-wide membership of over 750 with interests spanning all aspects of GB philately. Many of our overseas members and friends are joining with UK members to celebrate this special occasion.

To find out more about the Society, contact Peter Tanner at [email protected]

Content continues after advertisements