Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"A P.O.S.H. Trip to the Orient"


A POSH trip to the Orient was the theme of our latest meeting. Rather than see items from the Beckham family, guest David Mekie showed material on the subject of sea voyages to the Orient, via the Suez Canal, covering the period 1869 to 1939. Prior to 1869 there was no advantage to which side of the ship your cabin was located as going round the cape of Good Hope made both sides of a ship suffer from the heat of the sun for around half the journey. Once the Suez Canal opened, the port side was in the shade for almost the entire journey out, whilst the starboard side enjoyed the same "comfort" for the return. Thomas Cook & Sons were probably the first to ask for a supplement for those requesting port out, starboard home and this was eventually abbreviated to POSH also referring to those passengers who could afford the supplement.

David's presentation took in the countries on the route showing items of mail sent along the way, stamps from the ports of call, and other travel ephemera such as dinner menus and a special series of postcards issued by P & O Shipping Lines. David also showed some Suez Canal stamps, which were almost certainly forgeries and indistinguishable from the "real thing". Ports of call during the journey included Aden, Bombay, Calcutta, Penang, and Singapore.

In the second round David showed material from Singapore to China and Japan. This included the Chinese Treaty Ports material. Most of these ports had foreign areas that were walled off from the rest of the Chinese population. The British used Hong Kong stamps overprinted with China in their Post Offices. Some Treaty Ports also issued their own stamps , now much sought after. Eventually French, German, Russian, Italian and American Post Offices were set up in most of the Treaty Ports.

Alan Wishart provided the Vote of Thanks.

Our next meeting, on Friday 30th April, is our "5 sheets or 50 pence" evening, to which all are very welcome.

Our final meeting of this session, our AGM, is the following Friday (7th May) to which our members, only, may attend.