Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Bill Russell Entertains"


Bill Russell’s promise to the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society of an evening’s "Entertainment" on Friday, 6th March, was certainly fulfilled!

With much good humour he led members through a Postal History of the Island of Bute. A Post Office opened in Rothesay on 5th April, 1567 – but, at that time, all postmarks – without dates - bore the name ‘Rothsay’. This was one of the first post offices in Scotland to use an inkstamp denoting an additional ½d to defray road tolls! It was in August 1836 that the first date stamp was used and in the mid 1800s the ‘e’ began appearing in "Rothesay". At this time all mail was hand stamped but progress was made in 1915 when machine cancellations appeared.

Bill pointed out that Rothesay was the first place to use a "Victory Bells" slogan on letters – in 1945.

Also displayed was a series of postmarks from various parts of the island – postmarks that have now disappeared: Ardbeg Road, Craigmore Pier, Ascog, Gallowgate, Barone Road, Kingarth, Kerrycroy, Columshill Street, Kilchattan, Port Bannatyne, Straad and Mount Stuart. 

The first round ended with a board of "Howlers"!  A series of cigarette cards on this subject gave much enjoyment!


In the second round Bill Russell confessed his fondness for buying ‘lots’ from the Edinburgh Stamp Shop. He much enjoys finding out what is in the ‘lot’ – and sorting it out!

In one such lot he found material which had been collected by one person – Greetings telegrams, old bills, postcards, stamps, an invitation to the General Assembly Afternoon Party at Holyrood Palace, a cover and coin marking the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in 1994. Also a cover and postmark from Raffles Hotel, Singapore.

He caused much amusement with his postcard/stamp/postmark interpretation of the Ten Commandments.

Stamps from Canada from 1859, including Queen Victoria’s Jubilee issues, the first Christmas stamp and War Tax stamps, were admired.

And a board of cigarette cards on the subject of "Believe it or Not" once more caused much laughter!


In giving the Vote of Thanks, Alex Kelly remarked that Bill had certainly entertained members with his "Heinz 57 varieties"!  All had much enjoyed both Bill’s Glasgow Patter – and his displays.

Our next meeting in St Andrews Parish Church Hall is on Friday, 20th March, 2009 at 7:30pm when we look forward to a visit from members of the Strathclyde Postcard Club.  

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc are very welcome to attend.