A Short History of the Maidstone Postcard Club
The club was formed in 1977 by 10 people with an interest in postcards and collecting. The first meeting was held on 22nd November at the Crest Furniture Showrooms in the Mid Kent Shopping Centre, Allington [a mile from the centre of Maidstone] belonging to Chris Easton, who was instantly voted on as Chairman! The 10 founder members were:
Chris Easton, Eileen Easton, Eric Baldock, Kay Baldock, Irene Hales, Tom Hales, Kim Hales, Audrey Hodge, John Dann and Karen Arthurs. Irene was the first Secretary, her husband Tom the Treasurer, and Eric the News Editor.
Meetings started every third Tuesday of the month with an annual subscription of £1 to cover costs, and within 3 months the attendance had risen to 29 members. Very soon the membership had outgrown the Crest Showrooms, and the club moved to a room in the nearby Allington Castle on 16th May 1978. At the meeting, Bernard Mundel (who travelled up from Hythe to each meeting) presented a silver salver that was "to be awarded annually to the winner of a simple competition for members."
In the early days of the club, topics for discussion and display included cards by Young and Cooper, publishers in the Maidstone area, Bamforth Song Cards, Hop Picking, and Salmon Artists.
By June 1978, 46 members had joined the club, and speakers from all parts of the UK came to talk on their chosen subject. A club dinner was first organised for the 14th November 1978 at the Thomas Wyatt in London Road, and 33 members assembled for "a most enjoyable dinner." After the dinner, Irene Hales was the first to be presented with the Bernard Mundel Trophy for her winning entry ' The Hop Story of Kent.' Later in the year, this same entry by Irene won 2nd prize in the Politics and Social History section of BIPEX (the forerunner of the Picture Postcard Show in London). At the end of the first year, the club had grown to 62 members, and was now urgently looking for a new home, as the rooms at the Castle were not large enough!
On 23rd April 1979, the club moved to it's current home, St Paul's Hall in Boxley Road, and meetings were moved to the third Monday of each month, where the club continued to flourish, the membership at one point reaching more than 80! Interestingly, around this time, Terry Hougham (a dealer from Canterbury ) was offering to purchase Young and Copper Hop Picking cards for £2 each! I wonder what the equivalent price would be these days! Founder member Eric Baldock is still associated with the club, and at one time or another since 1977, has held most of the major posts in the club!
On the formation of other clubs such as the South East Kent Postcard Club (based in Canterbury) in 1980, some members left to join those clubs as they were closer to their homes. Since then, membership has been fairly constant at about 45-50 members, with 20-25 regularly coming along to the monthly meetings, and all of the regular events such as the auction and fairs are a permanent part of the club's year. Visits to and from other postcard and philatelic clubs are arranged regularly, with Ashford, Canterbury and New Romney clubs most popular.
The Club Postcard came into being in 1988, when a view of the Archbishops Palace and All Saints Church photographed by Arthur Monk, was converted into a postcard. Last year, current Chairman Tony Davis updated the postcard, and we now have 4 views of the Maidstone of today - including the famous Shaun the Sheep!
In recognition of her services to the club, Irene Hales was made an Honorary Life Member in 1989. Bernard Mundel was similarly recognised a few years later. After the 25th Anniversary in 2002, the founder members were all made Honorary Life Members of the club, and presented with certificates. In August 2004, retiring Secretary Ron Kemp was also made an Honorary Life Member, and Tony Davis also became an Honorary Life Member when he stood down as Chairman in 2013. At the AGM in 2016, Janice Brunning was also made a Life Member.
Previous Principle Officers of the Club
1977 - 1984 Chris Easton 1985 - 1987 John Taylor 1988 - 1991 Eric Baldock 1992 - 2013 Tony Davis
2014 - 2015 Julie Lester 2016 to date Eric Baldock
1977 - 1988 Irene Hales 1989 - 1991 Phillipa Hoad 1992 - 1995 Kath Knowles 1996 - 2004 Ron Kemp
2005 - 2008 Roger Vidler 2009 - 2010 Keith & Sylvia Hursey 2011 to date Myrtle Newsom
1977 - 1981 Tom Hales 1982 - 1987 Eric Baldock 1988 - 1992 Arthur Monk 1993 Arthur Monk & Derek Knowles
1994 - 2006 Derek Knowles 2007 Mike Thompson 2008 - 2010 Janice Brunning 2011 to date Ron Kemp