Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Poles Apart"


Dr. Brian Dow


There was a bit of a cold air blowing through the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society meeting last Friday evening!  Society Secretary, Dr Brian Dow of Carluke, gave his display of "Poles Apart" - and took members on a journey through both the Arctic and Antarctic’.


This was a truly fascinating display as, with Stamps, Miniature sheets, Postmarks and Postcards, members viewed, first, the expeditions and explorations of Roald Amundsen. In 1903 he was the first person to traverse the North West Passage. In 1925 he reached the North Pole - after landing by airship and then trekking through the ice and snow.


Then a display about Fridtjof Nansen who, in 1888, led an expedition across from east to west across Greenland. Later, with his ship, the Fram, he travelled to the Arctic - and a series of postcards recorded his epic journey, in 1895, with Hjalmar Johansen, across the frozen terrain to arrive near - but not quite - the North Pole - but this was certainly the farthest north ever reached.


While Nansen was on this journey, the Fram, under the control of Otto Svedrup travelled slowly through the ice and eventually reached north Norway. Miniature sheets and covers marking the 150th anniversary of his birth and showing his journey were displayed.


Postcards of the unsuccessful Maud expedition - 1918-1924 - when Roald Amundsen hoped to reach the Arctic through the North East Passage but instead arrived in Alaska - were shown. Also postcards were displayed showing the memorial at the North Pole to Amundsen, and those with him, who crashed on a rescue attempt of the crew members of the Airship, Italia, which had also crashed on its return journey from the North Pole.


This round ended with stamps and covers depicting the colourful Northern Lights.


After some warm tea - members were now taken south to the Antarctic - which had been reached by Amundsen on the Belgian Expedition of 1897-1899 - and this was the first to winter in Antarctic.


In 1911 he reached the South Pole and a copy of his letter to King Haakon VII informing him of this news was shown.  This wonderful feat was illustrated by stamps and covers issued on the 50th, 75th and 100th Anniversaries. A stamp issued to mark Amundsen’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938 was shown - this was awarded for his work on behalf of Refugees.


Port Lockroy in the British Antarctic Territory is now a tourist spot for cruise ship passengers who visit the Museum and the Post Office. Stamps of the Falkland Islands are used - and these are cancelled with very interesting postmarks of Antarctica.


This round ended with a display of different stamps, postmarks covers and postcards that have been issued through the years since 1955 - the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition; Ernest Shackleton’s epic journey; the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of 1902-1904; Climate Change/Ice Cap changes - and also many, many stamps of penguins!


The Vote of Thanks was given by Eric Ross who gave Dr Dow warm thanks for a truly interesting display.


Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 5th December, at 7:30pm when Alan Rushworth, will give his display on "Scottish Steamers". 


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