The Church of England Sunday School Institute
This publisher of Sunday School stamp albums seems to have issued them with several titles over the course of a few years. Though I have no date for some of the collection, style of the stamps suggest the most recent are approximately 1930. Possibly these were merged in with another publisher.
This page is laid out according to the titles and known dates. Click album pictures for an enlargement, or choose to look at an entire album or sheet of stamps from the main menu on the left; but be prepared for a wait while all the images load if you have a slow connection.
The Institute Bible Stamp Album
The “Institute” Bible Picture
With spaces for stamps illustrating
the graded inter-Diocesan Sunday School Lessons
The Institute Bible Stamp Album has spaces for one stamp for each Sunday of the year.
2 copies of 1917 album, belonging to sisters Alice and Sarah Hayes of Bradley Lane, Eccleston, Near Chorley, Lancs. From the 1911 census Alice was 16 at the time and Sarah was 12. The Sunday School was probably held at the CofE School just around the corner from the girls’ home as St Mary’s lay (and still lies) outside the actual village. Alice’s 1917 album is in poorer condition with perhaps moisture damage, but both from this year have all stamps complete. Sarah’s albums from 1918 and 1919 are also both complete, but notably it appears 6 stamps in 1918 were unavailable and so duplicate stamps from other Sundays were stuck in.
The albums are hardback. The 1917 album measure 160x114mm and the 1918-19 albums 160x104mm.
The later two both belonged to Sarah Hayes of Eccleston. They are more cheaply produced though still of rugged construction
1917 1918 1919
The stamps are roulette perforated, 45 x 58 mm, and gilt applied as a border on three sides in 1917, or orange in 1918, or grey in 1919. There are 52 stamps per set, one for each Sunday of the year. The album runs from First Sunday of Advent and the stamps tend to illustrate stories from the New Testament
A second example of the 1918 album above, collected by a Gladys Fean of Bristol, is complete but a bit scuffed. But, the stamps are those from the above 1917 album. As the 1917 album is dated, it must be assumed that this second 1918 album is populated with year-old stamps.
The Union Bible Stamp Album
Though a different title and publisher (The Sunday School Union of Ludgate Hill, London) from the size, artwork and the stamps, this title is clearly a successor to the Institute albums above. Inside is a similar preface
The “All British” Bible Picture
With spaces for stamps illustrating
the International Sunday School Lessons
The example below has no indication of date, but was collected by Annie Johnson of Crookes, Sheffield. It is the same size as the 1919 Institute Album including rounded outside corner, and has a medium thickness printed card cover. It is probably close in date to the above. The condition can only be described as fair, but is complete with all 52 stamps. They are the same size as the Institute stamps, also roulette perforated, and have similar styled artwork. There is no border however and the inscriptions are numbered 501 to 552. They were not collected in numerical order, but this numbering suggests a fifth set of 52 stamps. If so, the earliest date that could be assigned is 1924-25.
The Bible Stamp Album
Below is a later album with a heavy card cover but no indication of a year; assumed to be 1926 from the year printed on some large size Gospel cards tucked into the album. What is unusual is that the publisher has reverted back to Church of England Sunday School Institute.
Could it be that the Institute design passed over to the Sunday School Union, while the CofE SSI continued their own publications?
It belonged to a Cecily Alps, but no church or town mentioned. There are only 12 stamps consecutive from the first Sunday, however included are large size lesson cards that show the same picture as the stamp, but have the meaning of the lesson on the back. They are four times the size of the stamps and kept loose in the album.A second very similar example is possibly from a nearby year. It has the same cover and format but different stamps. The stamps in this are very scruffy; being roulette perforated some have been poorly separated and other rather clumsily cut from the sheet. One album’s stamps are prefixed with a J and the other’s with a P suggesting the same album was used over a number of years but different stamp sets were issued with different number prefixes - perhaps. The stamps in this album have been very poorly separated, and overall appearance is sloppy.
The stamps are 43 x 57mm and are roulette perforated. They show full colour biblical scenes from the New Testament
Bible Picture Stamps
This is the only title so far encountered from the National Sunday School Union, but because of the similarities to the above album and stamps, must represent a continuation of that series under a slightly different title. It is represented by three albums obtained as a single lot and collected by one collector; Bernard Ward. The albums are quite plain and austere, and provide no evidence as to dates. However, the style does compare with other publishers in the 1920s. The three albums are almost certainly collected in consecutive years, but the exact order is unknown; the same album is used for each year, though different stamp sets were awarded. The covers measure 140 x 114 mm and are quite stiff card, reminiscent of the C of E Bible Stamp Album of 1926.
The stamps are imperforate and were either die cut or very carefully cut out. They measure 60 x 45 mm. There is text on the stamps describing the picture. On all sets each stamp has a number presumably corresponding to a library number. On two sets, in addition there is a number corresponding to the week number of the year.
All three albums are quite complete and in good condition, but not all stamps awarded are part of the same year set in each album.
My Stamp Album
This is another seemingly one off album. The size is 114 x 158mm, but the cover is from the same card as those above, even down to the colour, which suggests it may be from the 1920s; there is nothing to give any indication of its age otherwise. It has a few unique features. It is more like a four page card for the stamps than it resembles an album. There is no stamp page decoration; all the space is given over to 9 stamps per page, and while these are of the same style as others on this page, they are of a quite different size - 31 x 48mm. The first four are also different in not being pictorial, but textual - a cursive script on a scroll with a short message.
The Gospel Stamps
The stamps below almost certainly came from a Sunday School teacher’s stock. The date is uncertain, but the stamps do not quite match those already in the collection. The batch consists of two stapled stock books of stamp sheets, comprising ten sets of fifty-six stamps presented as two sheets of twenty eight per sheet per set. The are labeled as Gospel Stamps and are published by The National Society incorporating the C of E Sunday School Institute. Most sheets have some stamps removed but there is an accumulation of many loose stamps too. The two stock books are for series two and three, with the loose stamps from other set due to the differences in labeling the stamps. In both books the sheets are laid out so that one starts at the top right stamp on the first Sunday of Advent and work down the column before moving onto the next column. The stamps are labeled with the name of the different Sundays, but those in the orange folder also have a number which defies any logic or reason to the order of the stamps - possibly an artwork catalogue number. Many stamps have been removed and there are many loose ones from both books, though neither would supply a full set of 56. From these ‘left overs’ it is possible to guess some Sundays were more poorly attended!
Series 2 sheets (3 stamps missing)
Series 3 sheets (2 stamps missing)