Alan Hughes R.I.P.


With regret we announce the passing of member Alan Hughes, on 23 October 2017, who will perhaps best be remembered for his outstanding work on the research for and compilation of our 125th Anniversary souvenir handbook.

Alan’s funeral is to be on Wednesday 15th November at 12 noon at St Nicholas’s Church in Old Marston. All are welcome to attend.

After the funeral there will be refreshments at the ‘Victoria Arms’ in Old Marston at which a copy or two of Alan’s History will be on display for those who have not seen it.

Alan had a long career with the Oxford English Dictionary and it particularly resonated with him that the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, Dr Sir James Murray, had also been the first President of the re-named Oxford Philatelic Society from 1892.

Through his research, Alan was instrumental in highlighting the career of Frank Bellamy, a notable citizen of Oxford for whom a Blue Plaque is to be shortly erected. Bellamy was OPS founding Honorary Secretary and Treasurer from 1890 to 1936 and also a key member of the Oxford Photographic Society, an active member of the Ashmolean Natural History Society and a significant observational astronomer at the Radcliffe Observatory. It was Alan who spoke to set the scene at the 125th anniversary event in 2016 bringing together the Oxford Philatelic Society, the Ashmolean, the Museum of the History of Science, and the friends of St Sepulchre’s graveyard where Bellamy rests.

Our thoughts and sympathy go out to his widow Freda and his family.

2nd Botley Brownies

Ursula Goulding B.E.M.

Ursula M. Goulding

It is a sad duty to convey to members that Ursula Goulding has died. She was a much-loved member of the OPS over many years, having first joined in 1978. She was elected Vice-President in 1990 and became President in 1991. In 1992 she joined Laurie Simmons as Joint Packet Secretary and continued in that role until at least 1997. When she began to have difficulty in driving at night, she became an enthusiastic attender at our morning meetings. Colleagues will recall her thematic display on Bears a couple of years back – the name Ursula of course meaning ‘little bear’. She was a strong supporter of the Sobell Hospice, through collecting and selling stamps for it. Among other things she helped design and stitch kneelers for St Leonard’s Church in Eynsham. Such was the esteem and affection in which she was held that our Society’s Committee had recently decided to recommend to the AGM next month that she be appointed an Honorary Life Member. I had the great pleasure of telling her this and hearing her obvious delight, so that it is sad that she didn’t live to enjoy this small privilege. Our sincere condolences go to her husband, retired cardiologist Dr Leslie Goulding.
The funeral will take place at the Oxford Crematorium at 12.45 on Wednesday 4 June 2014.
Bill Jackson


New book re-opens an old controversy.

19MayOPS Prof Catling

Oxford Philatelic Society’s meeting on Monday 19 May 2014 saw the launch of a book* which re-opens an old controversy. In 1885 the Postmaster General required that Oxford and Cambridge Colleges cease issuing stamps which they had introduced to pay for what they considered internal mail. It was a hotly debated issue at the time and the ‘College Messenger Stamps’ have been keenly sought by philatelists down the years.
The text of the book, together with a rare collection of the Cambridge stamps, has lain in an attic ever since 1939 and has only recently been discovered. It strongly refutes the PMG’s decision that the stamps infringed his monopoly, stating that the Colleges’ right to conduct their mail had been entrenched in the Act establishing the post office under Charles II in 1660. The book was written by the grandfather of a retired Oxford Brookes University professor. Together with Chris Harman, a former President of the Royal Philatelic Society of London, who is a world authority on these stamps, Professor Simon Catling launched the book at the meeting and both men displayed outstanding collections of the Messenger stamps of the two universities.
Keble was the first of the Oxford colleges to issue them, in 1871, and over some years Merton College followed suit, then Lincoln, Hertford, Exeter, St John’s and All Souls – as did Selwyn, Queen’s and St John’s in Cambridge. The noted philatelist King George V publicly declined to accept the offer of some for his collection, since ‘he did not consider himself justified in accepting what had been suppressed by one of His Departments of State’. Yet the Queen’s collection today is known to have specimens of them. Further controversy came in the 1930s when Oxford University declined the offer of an entire collection of them offered by an Oxford resident, Mr. F. A. Bellamy.
*The book is: The Story of the Cambridge College Messenger Stamps, 1882-5, by H. D. Catling, published by The Cinderella Stamp Club, ISBN 0-9546087-2-0, £12.


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