My mum Rene (Alice Irene Flitney née Harding) died in 1999. When my brother, sister and I went through her things we found an envelope full of old newspaper clippings and other bits and pieces. We looked through the papers and put the envelope away, but those yellowing pieces of paper keep whispering of half-forgotten times and places. Places like Butlers Cross, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury, West Wycombe, Little Kimble, Wendover, Ellesborough, Southcourt and Princes Risborough.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I'm a Phillumenist!

Not a lot of people know that and why should they when I've only just found out myself.

According to Wikipedia Phillumeny (also known as Phillumenism) is the hobby of collecting different match-related items: matchboxes, matchbox labels, matchbooks, matchcovers, matchsafes, etc., The word, derived from Greek phil- [loving] + Latin lumen- [light], was introduced by the British collector Marjorie S. Evans in 1943 (who later became president of the British Matchbox Label & Booklet Society, now renamed as the British Matchbox Label and Bookmatch Society). A person who engages in Phillumeny is a Phillumenist. 

Going by the notes in my scrapbook, I became a phillumenist in 1963 and by September of that year I had 500 matchbox labels in my collection.

I seemed to do very well in that first year. Did my dad buy a collection to get me started? I feel sure he must have done. Back then the two of us spent almost every Saturday morning scouring the local second hand book shop – is it possible they came from there? Where is that time machine when I need it?  Three years later, another 100 or so had been added to the collection. The final tally from December 1975 is 699. 

I remember spending a great deal of time carefully gluing matchboxes onto pages. I must also have spent a lot of time counting them!

Choice Wines and liquors ... We Deliver

Hines' Downtown Liquor Store PH. WA. 63529 North Division Near Main 

I'm not sure what possessed me when it came to this page, pin-ups next to orphanages. So much for classification – what was I thinking?

A page dedicated to Camp 'Flags of Nations'. At first glance, they all look exactly the same (apart from the individual flags), but a closer inspection reveals several differences.

I assumed the oldest is on the left and the newest on the right. Do you agree?

Bomber Matches - Sahigara Match Works, Chorvad Road, (Gujarat, India)
This company is still in existence although I couldn't say if they still manufacture matches. The business is owned by Abdul Razak Ahmed. Trading as: Abdul Razak & Co. 
Also Sahigara Oil Mills.

The Ship and Swan Vestas were the matches of choice when I was growing up. We always had several boxes around the house.

Family holidays were spent in Devon and Cornwall where many a matchbox could be found.

Mum and dad with their pride and joy – a converted Bedford Dormobile. Dad did all the conversion work himself (with a little help from my brother Tony) even the tricky job of fitting the lifting roof.  The first holiday to Cornwall caused a few anxious moments because dad was concerned the roof would ‘lift or leak’ on the way, but he needn't have worried it worked beautifully.

The Old Cornish Mine series of matchboxes first appeared in 1962. A product of  the Cornish Match Company of Halsetown, Cornwall.  Rosemergy mine at Morvah was opened sometime prior to 1788 and reopened several times as part of the Morvah and Zennor Mines but was finally abandoned after a short-lived boom in tin prices in 1874.

Mum and I and the interior of the converted Dormobile.

Uncle Tom Cobley and all from the Old West Country series issued by the Two Counties Match Company, Honiton, Devon from 1963.

Although my collection is quite small in comparison to some, it contains a wealth of social history, which should keep me happily researching for years.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday 296; Adverts, Wine and Old Labels

Now it's time to drink up and head on over to Sepia Saturday where the party will soon be in full swing.

Those of you with an interest in match box collecting might like this site 
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