Polar Postal History Society of Great Britain

Residential Weekends

About Us / History
Events / Contact Us
Society Auctions
Polar Post
Residential Weekends
Archived News
How to Join Us

16th September 2011 - PPHSGB Residential Weekend at the Royal Cambridge Hotel: This was our 3rd visit to the Royal Cambridge Hotel. This time we had a large room in the basement with plenty of space for the display and seating area as well as our own dining area. There were 33 resident members and partners including members John Lawrence, Robert and Daphne McMillan, Robert Hurst, Lesley Marley, Bil Tilbury, Rolf Scharning, Wilf Vevers, Robin Murchie, Alistair MacKinnon, John Youle (Germany), Serge Kahn (France), Kim Stuckey, Siegfried Nicklas (Germany), Hans Helfenbein (Germany), David John (Australia), Brian Clayton, Steve Allen (Norway), Trevor Cornford, Daniel Bringer (France), Margaret Noack, Gerry Pearce, Stuart Mallindine and Marc Hammond (Belgium). In addition we welcomed day visitors Fred Goldberg (Sweden), Gordon Buchan, Val Roberts, Trevor Thomas, Charles Swithinbank, and Terry Lay. New members John Lawrence, Daniel Bringer and Trevor Thomas were attending their first weekend and were made particularly welcome.


The main weekend theme was “Antarctic & Polar Base Mails” which covers just about everything. Following dinner, Steve Allen kicked off the weekend on Friday evening with “Ships in the Arctic as Base Camps”, giving a comprehensive review of Arctic Expeditions from 1576 through to the early 20th Century.


The only known cover sent from the Fram, written by Otto Sverdrup to his wife shortly before Nansen and Johansen departed for the Pole. The cover was posted in Vardø on 13th August 1896.

On Saturday morning Siegfried Nicklas displayed material relating to the 2nd German Antarctic Expedition 1911-1913. Siegfried presented some interesting figures concerning the number of covers and postcards mailed from South Georgia. Siegfried has provided the editor with the full text of his presentation which will be published in Polar Post sometime during 2012.


One of four known postcards cancelled C DE 30 12 sent by William Lorenzen on the return of the Expedition to South Georgia in December 1912.

Marc Hammond followed with a display of postal items from “Russian Bases in the Arctic”. Russian Arctic polar stations are spread all over Russia and Siberia on the continent and over the Northerly islands. About 130 stations have been identified. Most of them have (for the philatelist) some souvenir cachets and/or an official cachet. All these stations have a meteorological purpose. With all information they provide, they form a “spider’s web”. Accurate charts are then provided, which are vital for ships and aircraft. Some other stations have extra purposes (geological; hydrographical; geomagnetic). All the stations are manned by high qualified people. Some of them are made up of two or three families.


Cover cancelled in Tschokurdach 060591 situated on Liakovsky Island showing the Polar Station Shalaurova. This station is important regarding shipping and ice conditions, being situated on the passage between the Laptev Sea and the Siberian Sea.
It was now time for the live auction. 100 of the lots had postal bids (43.5% of the total) and there was some keen bidding in the room. The most interesting item was lot 109, a Hunting Aerosurveys cover signed by the pilot with the small version of the round cachet. This reached £215 against a reserve of £20. Lots consisting of modern FDCs tended not to sell.
In the afternoon we were able to visit the new museum at SPRI. Coincidently there was a special display on Roald Amundsen including his conquest of the South Pole, which featured some items on loan from the Fram Museum in Oslo. Back in the hotel the ‘Bring and Buy’ Session was well attended with many covers exchanging hands.
Following dinner the stage was set for Members’ Displays organised by Robert Hurst. 16 members (Lesley Marley, Kim Stuckey, Wilf Vevers, Serge Kahn, Siegfried Nicklas, Margaret Noack, Rolf Scharning, David John, Stuart Mallindine, Alistair McKinnon, Brian Clayton, Robert McMillan, Bil Tilbury, Trevor Cornford, John Youle and Robert Hurst) displayed in two sessions of 8.
John Youle (editor of Polar Post) kicked off Sunday morning with a display of postal items, photographs and postcards relating to “Halley Bay 1956–2011”, not one base but six if you include the current rebuild. John covered all the different postal cancellers used at Halley together with most but not quite all of the known cachets. The material included some difficult to find flight covers from the Transglobe Expedition and covers from visiting ships and other aircraft.


Cover signed by Giles Kershaw from the flight of the Transglobe Expedition Twin Otter from Rothera to Halley cancelled Rothera 2 JA. * 80 and Halley -6 JAN 1980. The cover also bears scarce Transglobe Expedition cachets.
John was followed by our Chairman Trevor Cornford who displayed material from his exhibit “Scott’s Last Expedition 1909-1913”. The display entitled “Journey to Cape Evans Base Camp, near Mount Erebus, Antarctica” concentrated on material from the period 1909-1911, most of which has been covered in Trevor’s series of Articles in Polar Post but it was great to see the items in the flesh. Trevor also included one or two new items not previously displayed.
Trevor Cornford summed up the Weekend and thanked everyone for attending. He also announced that it was the intention of the Society to hold a Residential Weekend in autumn 2013 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the PPHSGB (the first News Letter appeared in February 1953, the same year as the Coronation).


Bowers envelope which carried news to his mother that he was going with Scott, and leaving his RIM appointment. ‘out of 8,000 am appointed without even an application.

11th October 2009: PPHSGB Residential Weekend at the Royal Cambridge Hotel:

Members at Dinner on Friday Evening

35 Members and partners were joined by guest of honour – Antarctic Explorer and author Charles Swithinbank - for an excellent weekend of displays relating mainly to the Weekend’s theme, Whaling. The auction run by Bil Tilbury on Saturday 10th was lively with Lot 24 rising to the heady heights of £600 against a reserve of £40.

On Saturday evening “Members’ Entertain” attracted 14 displays on a variety of subjects. Sadly the museum at SPRI was closed for extensive rebuilding work but Steve Allen stepped in with an impromptu display of 40 sheets on the various Fram and Maud Expeditions. Thanks go to all members who attended and in particular to those who gave the main displays – Wilf Vevers (South Georgia), Serge Kahn (The 2nd French Antarctic Expedition), Steve Allen (Fram and Maud Expeditions), Lesley Marley (“A Whale’s Tale”), and Robert McMillan (Norwegian Whaling Mail). Gerald Marriner was prevented at the last minute from attending and his display (BAT Bases 1948-2005) was presented by Trevor Cornford who organised the weekend. Well done Trevor!

The next Residential Weekend is currently planned for the same venue in autumn 2011. 

Trevor Cornford and Robert Hurst flying the Flag
The Crowded Meeting Room on Saturday Morning
An attentive audience for one of the Displays during 'Members Entertain'

To enquire about membership (see also How to Join Us page), submit a comment about an item or suggest new topics or improvements, use the comment form below: