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Janet Presland, 2008
The History of Rushden Collectors Circle

On Wednesday September 27th 1978, a "pre collectors' club" meeting was held in the Allotment Rooms in Park Place, Rushden. About thirty people turned up. Eric Fowell showed slides of old post cards of Rushden. Following two other informal meetings on October 25th and November 22nd, to "test the water", the inaugural meeting of "RUSHDEN COLLECTORS' CIRCLE" was held on Wednesday January 24th 1979. The instigators were Eric & Jean Fowell and Barry & Joyce Church. The aims were to promote interest in all collecting fields. The first chairman was Eric Fowell. Barry Church was the first secretary and Jean Fowell and Joyce Church were joint treasurers. Seventeen people joined at the first meeting - with an annual subscription of £1-50.

The first Members 1979
P Bishop
J Bishop
B Church
J Church
J L Church
J Allison
W Allison
J Presland
J Harrison
D Harrison
S Smith
M Hollowell
E Fowell
J Fowell
B Warren
D Smith
R Presland

The Circle soon grew. The February 1980 meeting was featured in the April 1980 edition of "Northampton Town & County Independent", with a report and a photograph of the members. The theme at that meeting was "Anything Royal" and members brought along their items. By then there were about thirty members, with wide interests, including post cards, cigarette cards, bottles, writing implements, toys, dolls, horse brasses, cycle lamps, coins, porcelain, egg-cups, lace bobbins, clocks and printed ephemera.
1984 a visit to George Freeston's house at Blisworth
Membership gradually grew to 47 in 1982 and 50 in 1985, with several members living in Northampton. The meetings have always been on the fourth Wednesday of each month. At first, they were held in the Allotment Rooms. They moved to Rushden Hall in January 1991.

A typical year's programme was the one for 1987. It started with the Annual Dinner, at the Westward Hotel in North Street, on January 16th. The AGM, which followed later in the month, featured "Rushden at War." There followed Jim Osborne with "Games and Trains" in February. A Circle member - B. Duthrie - brought along many objects entitled "A Magpie's Nest," in March. They were part of his large collection of items. "Bells in our Lives" with Mr K. F. Day featured in April and, in May, Bill Warren and friends hosted an "Antiques Road Show" for members. In June, Dusty Roades spoke about "Country Customs." He was followed in August by Mabel Leach, who brought along her collection of Cookery Books. "Early Lace" was the topic of Mr Hopewell in September and in October Marion Maule from Bedford brought along her fans. Mr Porter's collection of lamps featured in November.

In July there has been a walk or summer outing for most years. In July 1984, members visited the home of local historian George Freeston at Blisworth. It was a treasure trove of his collections. There have been guided walks in Wollaston, Woodford, Irthlingborough, Kimbolton, Grendon, Podington, Yelden, Bozeat, Higham Ferrers and Ringstead. Several local museums have been visited. In July 2008, an interesting evening was spent at Thurleigh Airfield 306th Bombardment Group Museum.

Annual Dinners have been held until recently. The venues have been the Westward Hotel, the Carpenter's Arms, the Rilton Hotel, the Castle at Wellingborough, Rushden Hall and Knuston Hall. They usually included a guest speaker or some entertainment.

One of the members collects Bottles

This display shows:

Top shelf - Food & ginger beer (left) and medicine bottles

2nd shelf - Ribbed poison (left) and lemonade & sauce bottles

3rd shelf - Mostly drinks bottles. The blue bottle with a label (centre) is a syrup bottle

Several of the drinks bottles have marble stopppers like the one shown right - Oldham & Co of Rushden & Sherington

Antique Fairs have been held in the British Legion Hall and in St. Mary's Chuch Hall.

Other early Committee members and officials, besides Eric, Jean, Barry and Joyce, included John & Peggy Bishop, Douglas Smith and David & Janet King. Sadly, Douglas, who was an avid postcard collector, died suddenly in 1982. Long-standing treasurers have been Derek Savory and Barry Ashton. Jean Fowell has been programme secretary for many years. More recently, officials have included Norma Spicer, Rosemary Walker and Ann Sharpe. Douglas Rolton is the current President.

Today, five founder members remain. They are Eric & Jean Fowell, Roy & Janet Presland and Bill Warren. Other long-standing members, not already mentioned, include Graham Pack, David & Adrienne Leader, Arthur George, Mabel & Jack Leach and Michael & Susan Hollowell. There are several others who have been members for many years. New menbers and visitors are always welcome.

Janet Presland

Northampton & County Independent April 1980

Antiques In Circles -  by H. A. Victor CoIlin

The enormous increase in interest in "bygones" has been reflected in the growing number of shops selling antiques and ephemera; the organisation of antique classes and weekends; and the starting up of local clubs so that those sharing the interest can come together to talk among themselves about their hobby and to hear from leading collectors and experts about particular fields of collecting.

I have myself given hundreds of talks and taken a large number of  classes, mainly in the Leicester area, because my home is at Lubenham, near Market Harborough, and as a direct result of two of these, clubs were formed - the Leicester and Leicestershire Antiques Association and the Wellington Club, the latter taking its name from the Central Adult Education Centre in Wellington Street, Leicester, where the classes took place. There is also a Leicester Antique Clocks Society.

Members of Rushden Collectors Circle at a meeting at Allotment Hall, Park Place.
Seated, second left is Mrs. Joyce Church with her selection of Royal postcards and
next to her is Mrs. Constance Britten with a tapestry of Henry VIII and his six wives.

This month I heard about a club in Northamptonshire - the Rushden Collectors Circle which meets monthly at the Allotment Hall, Park Place, Rushden.  Its official starting date was January, 1979, but this followed the holding of three informal meetings to "test the water". The instigators were Mr. and Mrs. E. Fowell, and Mr. and Mrs. Barry C. Church. Mr. Fowell is now chairman, Mr. Church secretary, with Mrs. Fowell and Mrs. Church as joint treasurers, and Mr. D. Smith and Mr. D. Harrison completing the committee.

Mr. Church told me: "The aims of the circle, though not written into the rules, are to promote interest in all collecting fields both for those who are already collectors and those who may be considering taking up the hobby. At the moment we have some 30 members, with wide interests covering postcards, cigarette cards, bottles, writing implements, toys, dolls, horse brasses, old cycle lamps, coins, porcelain, egg-cups, bobbins, clocks and printed ephemera. If anyone is interested in joining or just paying a visit to one of our meetings they will be most welcome." Guests are charged 25p, juniors 15p. Annual membership is only £1.50. At the February meeting to which we sent along a photographer, members had been asked to take along "anything Royal". Mrs. Church displayed her selection of Royal postcards, while Mrs. Constance Britten showed a tapestry of Henry VIII and his six wives. At the March session Mrs. M. Chamberlain with her fans.

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