Midlands Branch12th January 2015 by Sam Whiting
Secretary: Frances Brannan
Welcome from all of us at Midlands Branch.
Sadly we are no longer meeting in these troubled times but we wish all local and worldwide collectors a safe passage through and we look forward to meeting some of you very soon.
A little trip into the archives…
Some of our readers might remember when we used to gather at Selly Oak Methodist Church Hall? Well, we then moved a short distance away to Cofton Hackett Village Hall, Barnt Green Road, Birmingham, B45 8BN. It was an excellent venue with easy access to many motorways. And our meetings used to take place from 7 – 9 pm
You might like to know that we are one of the Branches that share the honour of having issued our own cards.
One of our sets is standard sized, and entitled “Branch Personalities”. The other is the large sized “Silhouettes of Veteran and Vintage cars” shown here. Very striking cards, and cars! We are not sure why this subject was chosen, perhaps someone out there might remember? The Veteran Car set does appear quite regularly on internet auctions, the Personalities one is a bit scarcer. But if any of our readers has any inside information about their production, or any anecdotes (suitable for printing), please do get in touch.
[Our featured card is one of the many issued with the publication “Boys Magazine” in the late 1920s – it shows Francis, or Frank Womack (1888-1968) who still holds the league appearances record for Birmingham City FC with a turn out of 491 games, and also the league record for the most non-scoring games by an outfielder (511). He went on to become a popular manager in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s]
For our local card issuer we have selected
CADBURY BROS. LTD
Founded in Birmingham in 1824 to sell tea, coffee and drinking chocolate, but diversified into chocolate for eating after rival Fry’s sold the first bar of “Chocolate Cream” in 1849, and produced the first commercial box of assorted chocolates in 1861. In 1893 they opened a 330 acre housing estate for their workers which was known as Bournville.
1906 – 1910
Their first card issues, in 1906, were the charming “Bournville Views”, which showed views of that ideal housing estate, and had handwritten messages printed on the white borders. You will often find those at postcard fairs, but the same year two standard sized sets, each of 6 cards, were also issued, “Bournville Village Series” and “Bournville Series B”; possibly this means the Village Series was the “A” series? Other standard sized card issues of that year were “Locomotive Series”, “ Match Puzzles”, Old Ballad Series”, and this charming “Sports Series”. All of these were again sets of 6, with the exception of the match puzzles, which, intriguingly, was a set of 12 – or perhaps a first and second series of 6, un-marked as so….
In 1908, card production was booming, with Cadbury sticking to their system of issuing sets of 6 cards. “British Colonies, Maps and Industries”, always reminds me of Players “Counties and Their Industries, though that was not issued until 1914. They also issued “Colonial Premiers Series”, a “Dog Series”, and the postcard sized “English Industries”, which was a set of 12, or perhaps we have made it so, and it was again intended to be two sets. Late in 1908, going into 1909, they produced “Fish and Bait”, then there was a brief gap until 1910 saw several sets of postcard sized nature and countryside related reward cards being issued in various set lengths – birds, eggs, butterflies, trees and rivers. They also issued a large poster, and several puzzle/trick cards – a cabinet sized “illusion” card of “The Magic Bournville Cocoa Tree”, a postcard sized one-off “Puzzle Card” which you held to light, and a set of 25 “Knotty Problems”. Also the 6 card “Shipping Series”, issued in four different size permutations, and sets of 12, “British Birds and Eggs”, “Fish”, “Flags”. Finally there was a large sized set of 6 “Panama”.
A new era dawned in 1911 with the Coronation; duly recorded with a single commemorative card. There were also two different printings of “British Trees”.
There is also a very sought after single issue card, issued in 1911, which shows a White Star steamer and is usually found listed in dealers catalogues as “Largest Steamers in the World”. The card is titled “OLYMPIC AND TITANIC” as both ships were under construction at the time of issue – however the ship shown on the card is actually the Titanic, so this is the only trade card of the ship which was issued before it sank. To read more about this, and see the card check out http://www.titanicitems.com/cards1.htm
Still sticking with issuing sets of either 6 or 12, 1912 brought us “Constellations Series” and another “Flags Series”, this one can be found as a set of six each “card” being two cards paired, or one set of twelve as single flags.
Look out also for the “Antarctic Series” of 1913, which shows portraits of the explorers. Cadbury supplied chocolate to the expedition, and here is a fascinating insight!
https://www.news24.com/xArchive/Archive/100-year-old-chocolate-bar-sells-for-740-20010926 Their “Cathedral Series” was issued the same year.
1914 brought two sets, and both, unusually, had 24 cards, one was “Copyright (Inventors) Series”, the other “Shadow Series”, which is based on the old game of making the shadow from your hand(s) turn into an animal.
With the coming of World War One, all card production ceased. A high proportion of their male workers joined the Armed Forces, and two of the buildings were converted into hospitals in which the female workers had the option of either training as nurses or working as assistants on the wards or in the laundry. In 1918 the first overseas factory was opened in Tasmania. The following year, Fry’s and Cadbury’s merged; an outcome perhaps discussed when the two founders were both apprenticed to Rowntrees of York.
The so-called “Inter-War” years, the golden age of card collecting, resulted in just three sets. 1923 saw a 27 card set of “Famous Steamships” sailing into view. 1924`s “Fairy Tales” and 1925`s “Transport” saw Cadbury making their sets a more usual 25 card issue. In 1929 Cadbury’s “Crunchie” joined their confectionery range – having previously been manufactured by Fry’s. Though 1932 and 1933`s “British Marvels”, comprised 240 cards – though they were more like stamps, 120 of them designed to go in album no.1 with the Forth Bridge on the cover, and the rest in album no.2, with its Polar Exploration scene. The 1936 set of 80 “Cadbury`s Picture Making” is a similar design, unperforated edges, but bold pictures on a white background, designed to be cut out and used in artworks.
In the Second World War Cadbury again served; its factories produced many things, including aircraft parts, even though chocolate had been declared to be an essential wartime food. They also converted much of the grounds to a Dig for Victory scheme.
After an absence of many years, Cadbury suddenly marked the dawn of 1950 with a 32 card set of “Happy Families”. But they would not return totally until 1970, with cards I remember collecting myself, the 24 card set of “Strange But True”, and the 48 card set of “Dangerous Animals”, both being long cards with white borders at the right hand edge. 1971 dawned as “The Age of the Dinosaur”, and a return to the 12 card set. About 1975 they also issued a range of three dimensional black plastic dog figures, which I was very fond of, though some were very doglike (the alsatian and the scottie/westie, I remember these being the two I kept for years after) and others were rather flattened (the rough collie). At my grocer you went in and he let you select the dog you wanted so I had a good selection. But friends of mine who went to a different shop reported it was a bit pot luck as their grocer did the selecting. I wonder if anyone else remembers these as they meet with blank looks when I (frequently) bring up the subject! Returning to cards, Cadbury issued large sized cards of “Prehistoric Monsters” and a selection of pop stars in 1975. There is some debate as to whether it was just one set, or one set of general stars and a separate set of Bay City Rollers. What do you think?
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