The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

Winchester & Solent Branch

Winchester & Solent Branch

WINCHESTER AND SOLENT BRANCH
1983 – Present Day

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 did some sums and found out that 60 members of the Cartophilic Society lived in South Hampshire. So we advertised 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.

Our 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 we decided to meet on the first Friday evening of each month.

For the first three years, we held our meetings in the Peninsula Barracks in Winchester. You can read all about them at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsula_Barracks

The room at the “Light Infantry Barracks” was free of rent, which is why at that time we charged no subscriptions. Our 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, we issued a special commemorative card, 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 “ours” and “theirs”, 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, our next move was to the Parish Hall, Littleton, which is just three miles north west of Winchester; and now we were paying room rent. You can see the hall, after refurbishment, and its conversion into the Millennium Memorial Hall, at http://www.littletonvillagehall.co.uk/

In April 1987, we were 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. We tried not to let that put us off. However, the room was very small, with a strange closed-in feeling, and the dim lighting not suitable for examining cards, so our first month at The Eagle was also our last. The hotel closed in the year 2000, and its now flats. During conversion works, the skeleton of a young Roman female was found beneath the building, in a lead coffin.

In May 1987 we moved 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 we decided to return and investigate our first paid host, the Littleton Parish Hall, and they agreed not only to take us back, but at the same rent. We were there some time, and had 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 we had co-opted Lew Shotton, who was doing such good work as our auctioneer. Dennis Williams was President.

In 1993, we issued another commemorative card. We were not sure what to use as a subject until we were 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 our 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 can explain 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 Services – check out
https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/trade-cards-fincken-co-there-s-force-behind-44085B9AE3#
And if anyone out there pays for a subscription to invaluable and can unlock the hidden info, I would be very interested in the price it sold for.

In 1997, we 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 we are all mentioned on the most attractive commemorative card showing three ocean liners, a familiar sight in the area, from a wonderful drawing by Paul Merchant.

Our new home was found by chance – we are not sure why we decided to hold one of our Autumn 2007 All Day Fair at Botley, but we took to the venue immediately and all made the decision that we would like to make it our new permanent meeting place.

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 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, it even has a stairlift! If you want to read more about the hall, with a map, the website is: https://botleymarkethall.org.uk/

In 2020 we again planned to co-host the Cartophilic Society`s Annual Convention with our neighbours from the Hants and Dorset Branch, and make this the biggest convention ever. Sadly the coronavirus had other ideas, but we were delighted that we will be co-hosting in 2022. You read it here first!

Our card is number 15 of John Player`s “Racing Yachts”

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