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A Brief History

1947 - 2009

The first season

On 16 October 1947 a meeting was held at 221 Caerleon Road Newport "by kind permission of Mr Meaker" to discuss the formation of a society for stamp collectors. The name of the society adopted by the 14 people present that evening was the Newport (Mon) Philatelic Society. A lower age limit for membership was set at 15 years with senior membership starting at 18. The first committee comprised a chairman (Mr Tyson), a secretary/ treasure (Mr Clarke) and three committee members (Mrs Purnell, Mr Meaker and Mr Gordon).

After a committee meeting on 27 October, a general meeting on the 30th agreed to a subscription of 5/- for senior and 2/6 for junior members.

Following negotiations with the Newport Education Committee, a room at the Adult Education Centre in Stow Hill was secured at a rent of 2/6 an evening. The first meeting at this venue was on 13 November, when the age limit for membership of the society was lowered to 12 years with proviso that a prospective member aged between 12 and 15 be sponsored by a full member. The society's first philatelic topic rounded off the evening, a debate on "mint or used", with the secretary speaking in favour of mint and Mrs Purnell for used stamps. The debate ended with the "used" side victors by eight votes to three. A quote from the record of that meeting is interesting:

"The first speaker stressed the financial aspect (of mint stamps) as regards both the collector himself and the country of issue and the question of condition and general appearance, and the second speaker took the line of purpose of the postage stamp and the romance of postmarks. A lively debate resulted, emergent points including the sharp practises in many countries postmarking to order."

By 18 December the society had only £1 in hand and the first debate on attracting new members started.

The first season included a variety of debates, lectures and discussions, the emphasis being different from today when most evenings centre around displays of album leaves. There were also two quiz evenings and two auctions. The first visiting speaker was invited on 10 June 1948: Mr Ball of Longridge Lancashire was "persuade to shew some of his fine collection of British Colonials" during a trip to the town.

The next ten years

There is a gap in the records for the 1948/49 season but at the AGM at the start of the 1949/50 season, Mr Clarke stood down as secretary due to pressure of work in favour of Mr Crowther. Mr Clarke remained on the committee being joined by May Pegler and Mr Kerr. By December 1950, Mr Crowther was also suffering from pressure of work and resigned as secretary. Ron Myer took over his duties from 1 January 1951.

On 17 May 1951 the society staged its first exhibition:

"Stamps on show at Newport

For the first time since they were formed three-and-a-half years ago Newport Philatelic Society displayed their members' collections in the library of St Julian's High School for Boys on Thursday.

If this trial exhibition is counted a success the twenty members will again be laying out their collections on tables and on the bookcase doors.

There were about 2,500 stamps on show.

Seventeen-year-old J A Evans of Trevithin Vicarage, Pontypool who started collecting when he was seven had on show a sheet of 240 Victoria penny reds. It took him a year to collect them

- Argos May 18th 1951"

The "Stamp Mirror" on 2 June noted "that four prospective new members were enrolled on the strength of this action".

The society was then invited to provide a display at the Festival Exhibition in Pontypool which was to be opened by the Chairman of the Council on 9 July.

Another novel feature of the 1950/51 season was the purchase of a collection by the society for the sum of £4-12-0. The next AGM reported that "a few shillings had been lost on the purchase... owing to the bad description of same in catalogue". At the same AGM, a members' dinner and affiliation to the British Philatelic Association were discussed but both failed to find favour.

A failure to attract new members during the next couple of years was attributed to the uncomfortable accommodation and the choice of Thursdays for meetings. A move to the Castle Restaurant at the end of 1954 was accompanied by a change to Wednesday evenings. The 1954/55 season saw more firsts with a visit to and a return visit from (the now defunct) Pontypool Philatelic Society and the setting up of an exchange packet.

Len Ewings joined in 1955 and meetings moved to the comfortable and quiet surroundings of his home.

February 8th 1958 saw the opening of an "Exhibition of postage stamps by the Newport Philatelic society at the Museum and Art Gallery, Dock Street". The exhibition made the news in an unfortunate fashion with the headline "Newport mystery of vanished stamps".

"Who is the stamp collector responsible for the removal of stamps from an exhibition arranged by Newport Philatelic Society in the town's museum and art gallery? Six stamps are believed to have been taken, none of any great value. The polythene sheets covering the stamp frames have been cut just enough to enable a stamp to be removed. Several of the stamps belong to Mr Leonard Ewings of Clarence Place Newport. 'We believe that children are the culprits. Possibly they were attracted by the pictures on the stamps' he said. 'It's rather annoying'. He added ' We are very pleased however at the away the exhibition has been received since it opened. A thousand people have already visited it."

- Argus, February 1958

By the time it closed on 22 February, 2,222 people had seen the display of 400 album sheets.

Coming of age

The first chairman, Mr Tyson, had to offer his resignation when his work took him from the town in 1958. Mr Harding, who had been his deputy, replaced him. At the beginning of the following season Mr Harding declared his wish not to continue and Len Ewings stepped in. Mt Tyson became the society's first honorary life member at the AGM in 1958 in recognition of his services to the society. For the first ten years the AGM was held at the start of the season and it was only in 1959 that members voted to move it to the end so that the programme could be worked out in advance of the new season.

Despite the success of the exhibition it was difficult to attract and keep new members, with attendance being as low as three or four at some meetings. Pontypool Philatelic society disbanded in 1960. Philately in the area was in the doldrums. In 1963, it was decided that adverts in the Argus should refer to Newport Stamp club, as "Philatelic society" was perhaps too highbrow. No new members were forthcoming from this approach and membership stayed below twenty during the early 1960's.

A competition night was introduced on 20 April 1966. It was for the Chairman's cup and comprised a display of up to three sheets a member on the subject of wild animals, the winner of the trophy (a rose bowl) being Mr S James. Because of its success a second competitive night was held the following year with the subject being "flowers". Ron Myer won this time with his display of medicinal flowers.

The 1966/67 season saw membership almost double, from 13 to 24, due to the expanding interest in Great Britain commemoratives as the Post Office increased the number of special issues. The Burgeoning membership forced a move from the Ewings' residence to the W R Lysaght Institute in 1967.

The society entered its 21st year with two dozen enthusiastic members. The new art gallery in John Frost Square proved to be an excellent venue for an anniversary exhibition from 10 to 24 May 1969. Members made special glass-fronted frames for the exhibition. Stamp collecting was booming as the Argus of 12 May stated:

"Stampede for stamps

Records crowds attended the stamp exhibition which opened at Newport art gallery on Saturday. The exhibition, organised by the Newport Philatelic Society and the GPO, shows thousands of stamps from all over the world. A gallery spokesman said: 'It is quite fantastic. We never expected it to be so popular. After two hours 130 people had been in. On a fine Saturday there would normally be about 200 visitors throughout the day."

The final attendance was 2,800!

The first Newport Convention

To add to the success in 1969, the Federation of South Wales Philatelic societies was formed at the end of the year. Newport was a founder member. The Federation held its first convention in Swansea in 1970. Fostered by individuals within the Newport society, a special relationship had been established with the Cardiff society during the 1960s. The Federation made it easier for the society to forge closer links with the other stamps clubs in the area.

A further change in venue occurred during the 1970/71 season. This time to the Hong Kong restaurant in Griffin Street, thanks to Mr Wong. During the season May Pegler dies and bequeathed her collection of some 20 albums to the society. As a tribute the society set up three exhibition frames each of nine sheets as a permanent record of her contribution and introduced a new thematic competition for the "May Pegler Memorial Trophy". Entries for the competition comprised from three to six sheets. Ken Willmott was the first winner on 26 April 1972 with his "EXPO 67" exhibit.

The highlight of the 1971/72 season was the invitation to the Federation to give a display to the Royal Philatelic Society London at 41 Devonshire Place on 4 November 1971. Newport contributed five of the 52 frames.

The first end of season dinner was held at the Hong Kong restaurant on 17 May 1972 with a charge of £1 a head. With the sale by Mr Wong of his restaurant later in the year a new venue had to be found for meetings for the 1972/73 season. The society was fortunate in being provided a room free of charge in the Moss Building by the Post Office. The second annual dinner was then held at the Wentwood Inn with Mr Davies, the Newport Postmaster, and his wife being invited as guests.

At the AGM on 8 May 1974 the society changed its name to the Newport and Gwent Philatelic Society to concord with the newly introduced county name.

The 7th Federation convention, STAMPIAU 76, dominated the 1975/76 season. It was Newport's first. Held at St Julian's comprehensive School on 10 April, it was officially opened by Newport former Head Postmaster R H D Carted. RAC signs paid for by the society ensured that stamp collectors flocking from all over the country could find their way safely to the exhibition. The Nantes Philatelic Society, who flew over to Rhoose from France especially for the event, provided some of the most interesting displays. A special cover for the show commemorated a rugby match between Newport and Cambridge in 1902. More than 550 covers were sold. A private treaty sale, an auction and dealers' stands all contributed to a small profit on a highly successful day.

The Second Newport convention

At the AGM following the first convention, in May 1976, Len Ewings said he wished to retire after some twenty years as chairman. Fred Brace was voted in to succeed him. Two years later, on 3 May 1978, a new position of president was created and filled by popular acclaim by Len Ewings.

Herr Walter Spiller, chairman of the Heidenheim district Philatelic Association, was among a party of representatives from Heidenheim who visited Newport in June 1979 prior to the twinning of the two towns. Ron and Elsie Myer were invited to the Mansion House to meet the German party and Fred and Jessie Brace invited Herr Spiller to Sunday lunch at which he was presented with an inscribed souvenir plaque from the society. Saturday 24 April 1982 was the date of the 13th Federation convention. Newport was the host for the second time and, as in 1976, the venue was St Julian's Comprehensive School. On 15 September 1981 the society was saddened by the sudden death of the chairman, Fred Brace. Fred Scott stepped in for the rest of the season, which included the organisation of the convention.

As previously, a special convention cover was produced (350 being printed). Not only was the convention a resounding financial success, turning in a profit of £191, but the organisation was immaculate and the society received several letters of thanks. On of the lasting impressions among those attending was apparently the quality of the refreshments.

Towards 50 years

Having filled the breach so admirably, Fred Scott asked to be relieved at the end of the 1981/82 season and was succeeded by John Gunn at the AGM. This meeting also saw the start of the society's library, its first acquisition being "The Stanley Gibbons Book of Stamps", a gift from MR and Mrs Bayliss who were dealers at the Convention.

Ron Myer became the sixth honorary life member of the club at the AGM in April 1983, in recognition of his services as secretary over the years. The society was once again saddened by the loss of a member with the sudden death of the president, Len Ewings. It was agreed as a mark of respect to leave vacant for the time being the post of president.

The long association with the Post Office ended with the final meeting of the 1986/87 season. The Moss Building was no longer available. After several inquiries, rooms were secured for the next season, the society's 40th, at the Newport Civic Centre. At the end of 1987, the society's longest serving officer, Ron Myer, stood down as secretary due to ill health. Ron, sadly passed away during 1988.

The new secretary, John Perry, introduced a twice-yearly newsletter for club members, with the first issue being in April 1989. The club also became more outward looking with the regular exchange visit with Cardiff being supplemented by Nailsea (Bristol), Hereford, Bridgend and (In 1996) Barry. The tradition of the (almost) annual dinner continued with various venues being tried (Tredegar House, Tredegar Park golf Club, Golden Lion at Magor, Rising Sun at Rogerstone). In addition, the club joined the Federation exchange box circuit, a facility that has allowed many members to sell surplus stamps and to but new items, often at bargain prices.

The most important event of 1991 was the third Newport Convention, at St Julians School on 20 April. The weather was kind and over two hundred attended. It was difficult to count because there were not enough programmes. The mayor of Newport, Harry Jones, opened the convention and presented the prizes. The convention cover included two unusual postmarks from Caldicot and the South Wales postal historians soon snapped up serviced cards. There were also 15 dealers and a Post Office Sales counter, together with competitive and other displays. The club made a donation to Federation funds from the surplus from the day.

Another long-standing member, Ivor Bennett, passed away in 1993. The society joined the Association of British Philatelic Societies, when it was founded in 1994.

The twinning link between the Society and Heidenheim had been dormant for many years until in 1995, Dierk Lisdorf, the vice-president of the German club came to Newport as part of the official twinning party. The visit coincided with the Federation Autumn Day in Barry at the end of September. This gave Dierk a chance to sample a Welsh stamp fair. The visit also included an evening at Cardiff Castle and a reception at the Mayor's parlour in Newport.

John Perry, as secretary, joined the Newport twinning party for its visit to Heidenheim in May 1996 and the links between the two clubs were firmly established. Gwen Hussey and Dennis Martin visited Heidenheim as part of their October celebrations, which included an official dinner and a stamp fair. A special friendship cover with Heidenheim and Caldicot (Newport, Gwent) postmarks was produced.

Fifty already

The 28th annual convention of the Federation of South Wales Philatelic Societies was held on 3 May 1997. For this occasion, a special postcard was produced showing postmarks of Newport. The club also provided a special display for the convention, which was held in Port Talbot.

The 50th year started with Newport's first Autumn Day stamp fair, on 4 October 1997. This is a special occasion for club members. The world is getting smaller and exchanges which first developed with Cardiff, and then with the rest of South Wales and the South West of England, have now expanded to Europe. For the Autumn Day, we had the pleasure of welcoming guests from Germany (Dierk Lisdorf. Roger Leintz, Gerd and Gudrun Duda) and Belgium (Brigitte Leysen). As well as the Autumn Day, the club arranged a special meeting on the Monday, preceded by a meting with the deputy mayor.

Throughout 1998 the club continued to thrive with membership around the 25 mark. The next two years took us up to the millennium with a strong membership, a varied programme and a seemingly permanent home at the Civic Centre in Newport.

In 1999, the society established a web page: and has built up links around the world. Since then the society has built up its exchange links with links with other clubs and in 2001 added its first visit to the Thornbury society.

Strengthening links with Heidenheim

In 2002, the club decided to formalise its links with Heidenheim through joining the Newport Heidenheim Twinning Association.

Over the weekend of 10 to 13 October 2003, the Heidenheim stamp club (Briefmarkenfreunde Heidenheim e.V.) celebrated its 90th anniversary. John Perry and Gwen Hussey from the Newport and Gwent Philatelic Society set off on 10 October to join members of other partnership towns in celebrating the 90th anniversary. A short flight from Heathrow to Stuttgart was followed by a train journey to Heidenheim via Bad Cannstadt and Aalen. On arrival at 18:30, we were whisked off to the apartment of the secretary of the Heidenheim club, Dierk Lisdorf before joining the others in the Gaststatte "Hirsch" for a typical German meal. As well as Heidenheim, there were representatives from, Clichy (Paris), St Gilles (Brussels), St Pölten (Austria), Döbeln (Saxony), Jihlava (Czech republic) and Sisak (Croatia). Each club made a short speech.

After dinner, the visitors dispersed to the houses of Heidenheim club members, with whom they would spend the weekend. We stayed with Gerd and Gudrun Duda at their house in Steinheim, about 10 km from Heidenheim. Gerd and Gudrun had previously visited Newport. An early start was needed on Saturday for the partnership congress at the Rathaus in Heidenheim. The congress took a review of the activities of each club and the planned activities for the coming year. Translation between German, French and English helped the joint understanding. Items discussed were the exchange of old stamp catalogues, ways to develop youth philately and future partnership plans.

The clubs vary considerably in size. St Gilles has 400 members, St Pölten has 270, Döbeln and Newport have 25, Jihlava has 170 and Sisak has 40. The year 2005 will be special for St Pölten as it will celebrate 35 years of partnership with Heidenheim among other anniversaries. The club will run a national stamp exhibition. The next partnership meeting will be in Clichy at the end of June or beginning of July 2004.

After the congress , a short train journey to Itzelberg for lunch was followed by an afternoon at the Georg Elser museum in Königsbronn. Elser had attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 8 November 1939. The event was not commemorated for many years after the War but eventually a museum was opened. A copy of the exhibition in the museum was currently also touring Germany.

After taking the train back to Heidenheim, visitors returned with their hosts to prepare for the celebration dinner, which started at 19:00 in the Paulus Church meeting house. The 25 guests were joined by 80 members and family from the Heidenheim club. The evening commenced with the Heidenheim-Snattheim wind band, one of whose members, on flute, was Isobel the partner of Dierk Lisdorf. The Mayor of Heidenheim, Bernhard Ilg made an address to the meeting. During the evening members of Clichy, St Gilles, St Pölten, Döbeln and Newport clubs made presentations to Helmuth Feichtenbeiner, chairman of the Heidenheim club. The gift from Newport was a framed picture of the Mansion House by John Parry, a local Newport artist. The evening ended with a display of square dancing from a local dance group and a barrel organ routine from Gerd Duda.

Another early start was needed on Sunday for the stamp fair and auction at the Rathaus. For the occasion, a special cancellation was available for franking items at the fair. There was also an auction, with many bargains of Germany stamps to be had and a display of stamp frames of 15 sheets from each of the partnership clubs. The Newport displays were: Scenes from the Leipzig Fairs (Gwen Hussey); Monmouthshire Postal History to 1840 (John Perry); and The Post Office on the MS Kungsholm (John Perry). The Heidenheim club presented certificates for each display, on each of which was a copy of the Georg Elser stamp that had been issued on 16 January 2003, the centenary of his birth. Each stamp had the exhibition cancellation. Specially printed envelopes and postal stationery were also available for sale.

On the Saturday and Sunday, we met Renate and Eric Klement-Schmidberger from the Heidenheim twinning association. Renate provided an excellent translation of the talk by the curator of the Georg Elser museum. On the Sunday, we talked also about Rudolf Themen, a local painter, whose art had been displayed recently in the Rathaus. There is the possibility that this exhibition will come to Newport.

At the end of the day, we met at a Chinese restaurant before a final night's rest in Heidenheim and returning to our own towns having made many new friendships and renewed others.

The 2004 Autumn Day

Newport continues to support the Federation of South Wales Philatelic Societies and maintains its membership of the Association of British Philatelic Societies. In 2004, the club hosted the Autumn Day of the South Wales Federation for the first time since the club's golden jubilee in 1997. The stamp fair was held at Maes Ebbw School in Newport on 9 October 2004. Five local dealers and seven clubs from the federation had tables and all reported brisk business in the morning.

The 2004/05 and 2005/6 seasons see the club thriving in its Newport Civic Centre rooms. September 2007 will be the 60th anniversary of the first meeting of the society.

The 2007 Autumn Day

The club was host for the Autumn Day for the Federation of South Wales Philatelic Societies on 29 September 2007. As in 2004, the Maes Ebbw School was chosen as the venue.

The first visiting speaker for the 60th season was Jim Crompton, who gave a talk on the New Hebrides on 3 October 2007.

Newport Smilers

Because 2007/8 was the 60th anniversary of the first meeting, a special Smiler sheet and postcard were produced for postmarking on the actual day of the first meeting, 16 October.

The first printing was limited to 14 sheets with print number 1541389. Two of the sheets were broken up to service 39 postcards, with the remaining copy from the sheet being retained as an archive copy. The remaining 12 sheets were then issued as whole or part sheets based on pre-orders following the first use on 16 October 2007. The significance of the date is that this was the first meeting of the club in 1947. The 14 sheets represent the number of members at the first meeting. The postmark used was the Caldicot Delivery Office hand-stamp, which is reserved for occasional use for local deliveries in the area. Because of the glossy nature of the stamp and label, the impression is variable in quality.

The second printing comprises a further 30 sheets from 29 January 2008 with print numbers 2133300, 2198523 or 2225865. The second printing is from the same computer image as the first. The first printing was uniformly pale; the second a strong bistre. This is due to Royal Mail and not to the image used. I understand from Royal Mail that they changed their processing equipment in 2007 and that may explain the difference.

The design of the label is based on the logo of the club, from a design by Vic Sheppard. It shows the Civic Centre in Newport, which is the location of the club, with the time on the clock set to 7.15 pm, which is when our meetings used to start. The design was first used in1991.


A role of honour

Honorary life members


Mr Tyson - First chairman


Mr St Dalmas - Committee member

Miss Pegler - Committee member


Mrs Morgan - South Wales Federation President

Mr Ewings - Chairman


Mr Myer - Secretary


 Federation competition winners


Ron Myer - Thematics


Len Ewings - Postal history


Ron Myer - Thematics


D Little - Junior thematics


John Perry - Thematics


Alan Perry - Junior Thematics


John Perry - Postal History


John Perry - Thematics


John Perry - Thematics


John Perry - Thematics


John Perry - Aerophilately


Dennis Martin - General


John Perry - General


John Perry - General & Dennis Martin - Aerophilately


Diane Cannard - Thematics & Chris Baker - GB


Chris Baker - GB & Chris Baker - General


Stuart Geddes - Postal History & overall Federation Winner

Federation medals (presented only from 1985)


3 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


5 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


3 silver, 2 bronze


2 silver, 3 bronze


2 silver, 3 bronze


1 silver, 3 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


1 silver, 4 bronze


4 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


1 silver, 3 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


3 bronze


1 bronze


1 silver, 3 bronze


1 silver, 2 bronze


1 silver, 1 bronze


1 silver, 3 bronze


3 silver, 2 bronze


3 silver, 2 bronze


2 silver, 1 bronze


1 silver, 3 bronze


5 bronze


2 silver, 3 bronze


2 gold, 1 bronze (plus 1 diploma)


1 gold, 1 silver

Newport and Gwent postal events since 1947

In 1947, Newport was part of Monmouthshire. "Newport (Mon)" was on postmarks until 1973, when the new Welsh county of Gwent was created. The introduction of postcodes in 1960s saw Newport among the first of the sorting offices with a code of "NPT". New towns were introduced each with two letter post-towns and in the 1980s, Newport changed to NP. The re-organisation of the postal services in recent years has seen the main sorting work move to Cardiff and the new name of "Newport, Cardiff" appearing on most mail from 5 April 1993.

On 1 April 1996, the creation of the unitary authorities in Wales resulted in the demise of Gwent, which was replaced broadly by Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerfilly. The post office has yet to recognise the change, with the counter postmarks and the postmarks of the minor sorting offices at Caldicot, Monmouth and Ebbw Vale still using Gwent.

Regionalisation of postal sorting has resulted in mail having inkjet postmarks for SE Wales, with no mention of Newport or Gwent. First day postmark facilities for Gwent were also removed in 2002. The creation of the City of Newport in 2002 has not resulted in any improvement.

Special postmarks for "Gwent" have been infrequent. The following have been used in addition to those produced in connection with the day of issue of new stamps:


ALF Automatic Sorting



W H Davies Poet Centenary



Completion of A449



Gateway Motel & Restaurant opened



CHEPSTOW - 50th Anniv Army Apprentices College



25th.Anniversary of The Home of a Self Grip Wrench



MONMOUTH - Borough will cease to exist



MONMOUTH - Gwent Scouts County Rally



Newport Athletic Club



MONMOUTH - 400 years Royal Engineers



MONMOUTH - Provincial Mark Lodge Anniversary



CWMBRAN - Introduction of new Postcode



PONTYPOOL - Home of International Bowls




CWMBRAN - 27th Welsh National Caravan Rally



Newport County Football Club



NEWPORT - Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) Centenary



Transporter Bridge 75th Anniversary




Philatelic Counter Official Opening



150th Anniversary of the Poet Islwyn's Birth



1st Anniversary of the twining with Heidenheim



PH 70

Philatelic Counter Handstamp -Transporter Bridge




Risca Miners Flower Show



600th Anniversary of the Borough of Newport



Centenary of Severn Tunnel - First Coal Train



Centenary of Severn Tunnel - First Passenger Train



South Wales Argus Centenary



EBBW VALE - Garden Festival of Wales




EBBW VALE - Garden Festival of Wales



CROSS KEYS - 75th National Eisteddfod






MONMOUTH CASTLE – Houses of Lancaster and York


Numbers are ex Pearson: "SPECIAL EVENT POSTMARKS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM" and the information has been supplied by Trevor Wigmore, who also provided the designs for the Federation of South Wales Philatelic Societies 1997 Convention postcard.

Although slogan postmarks are used frequently, the only slogan cancellations specific to the "county" have been: