Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Mr. Ian J. Gray
Two very different forms of transport was the theme of the ‘President’s Display’ given by Ian Gray at the opening meeting of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society on Friday, 3rd September, 2010. He began with a display of stamps, covers and postcards showing the building an development of the Hedjaz Railway. In 1900, Sultan Abdulhamid ordered the construction of a railway to run from Damascus to Mecca - an extension of the existing line from Istanbul to Damascus. It was to be financed, built and operated by the Ottoman Empire. So taxing began! A ‘poll tax’ on all Muslim heads of families; special stamp tax on documents; a tax collected from pilgrims to Mecca. There were Revenue Stamps issued by the Ottoman Empire; by Saudi Arabia; by Palestine; by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force – from all of which a contribution was made for the Railway. It was completed to Medina in 1908. But later the railway met with difficulties! In 1916, the Arab Army led by Lawrence of Arabia began raiding the railway to break down communications and, with various bridges demolished, the line became impassable. Later Bedouin tribes prohibited the completion of the line to Mecca and so termination remained at Medina. Ian continued his display with postal items illustrating the infrastructure of the railway – and also brought it up to date with his own journey along the remaining usable stretch of line between Amman in Jordan and Damascus in Syria – and showed various places of interest along the route. The line was never completed to Mecca.
After tea, Ian changed to cycling! A wonderful display of humorous cycling cards was given – and much enjoyed! Many cards from Britain and also from various European countries, the USA and Australia.
Bill Wilkie, the immediate past President, led members in giving the Vote of Thanks for the most informative and amusing displays.
Our next meeting in St Andrews Parish Church Hall, Avon Street, Hamilton, is on Friday, 10th September, 2010 at 7:30pm when Jim Moffat will display ‘France and French Colonies’.
Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.