Czechoslovak Philatelic Society
of Great Britain

History of the Society

Prehistory

In 1942, J Tauber, a London stamp dealer founded a Czechoslovak Philatelic Society. There was a strong link to members of the Free Czechoslovak Forces in Great Britain at that time and samples of the many commemorative postmarks issued were available to members.


Czechoslovak philately received a boost with a well publicised exhibition of postage stamps in London in November 1943, see CPSGB Monograph 10. At the end of August 1944 most Czechoslovak soldiers left for France as a fighting unit and the original Society faded away.

Formation

The possibility of forming a new Czechoslovak Philatelic Society was first raised in Stamp Collecting for 24 August 1951 and at the end of that year Vincent Jordan created an Exchange Club which was to grow into the Czechoslovak Philatelic Society of Great Britain, helped by a display given to the Royal Philatelic Society, London, in May 1953, by George Pearson. By the end of 1953 the Society had been formally inaugurated.

The 1960s and 1970s

Meetings continued to be held, mainly in members' homes and in 1970 the first exhibition was held in Bishops Stortford organised by Cyril Wackett. From 1973 meetings were held at the offices of the British Philatelic Association, firstly in the Strand and later at the National Liberal Club. In 1974 a second exhibition was organised in Worthing by Miss Yvonne King, today our Treasurer and Vice-Chairman. In 1975 Cyril Wackett launched a quarterly newsletter for members, the origin of today's Czechout.

The 1980s

1980 saw participation in the London 1980 exhibition with a luncheon for members and overseas visitors. In 1981 the decision was made to publish the Society's first monograph, a study of the Czechoslovak Forces in Exile during WWII by the late Alec Page. The publication of monographs has continued to this day (see the separate publications list) and has contributed to the growing reputation of the Society as an important source of information on Czechoslovak philately.

It was during the 1980s that regular meetings began to be held at the Czechoslovak National Club in West Hampstead, a tradition continued to this day. During the 1980s the holding of joint meetings with the Austrian and Hungarian specialist societies was inaugurated, today joined by members of the Society of Polish philately. Country meetings were also developed and many members visited Czechoslovakia for the PRAGA 88 exhibition.


The 1990s

An international meeting and dinner was held in connection with the exhibition: Stamp World, London, 1990. In 1993 it was decided not to change the name of the Society following the split of Czechoslovakia into two separate republics. 1993 also represented the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Society and a celebratory dinner was held at the Czech and Slovak Club attended by the Slovak Ambassador.

The Society auction went from strength to strength at this time and has continued to be a valuable service to members, whether buying or selling. Again, many members visited PRAGA 98 and a Society dinner was held in Prague.

The New Century

The Society has continued to thrive through recent years, starting with a visit by 40 members and partners to the BRNO 2000 exhibition in the Moravian capital. Members were awarded a number of prestigious medals. In 2000 Czechout reached its centenary with the publication of issue No 100. A similar sized party visited Slovakia for the first time to attend the SLOVENSKO 2002 exhibition in Bratislava.


2003 was an important year; it featured celebrations for the Society's 50th anniversary presided over by Chairman Lindy Bosworth. Three major events were held. The Society provided a large display at Spring Stampex, London, including invited exhibits from the noted Slovak designer and engraver, Martin Činovský. On 20 March, the Society gave a 53 frame display to the Royal Philatelic Society. In May, a 140 frame exhibition was mounted at the Czech Embassy in London with the co-operation of the Ambassador who also attended a celebration dinner. A further display and seminar was held at the Czech Embassy in October, on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic.

On 16 November 2004 a further display was given at the Czech Embassy. In April 2005, the Czech Embassy hosted the launch of our latest monograph, No 18, by Bob Hill on postal matters following the Liberation of Prague in 1945.  A large party of members again visited Moravia for the BRNO 2005 exhibition and a Society dinner was held in Brno, also attended by visiting members of the American, Dutch and German Czechoslovak Societies.

As the decade passes, summer meetings continue to be held and monographs and Czechout continue to be published.