The Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge

Northumberland Ave     or      69 Great Peter St       or      Holy Trinity Church
London WC2                         Westminster SW1               Marylebone Road, NW1

The archives for the SPCK is based at the library at Cambridge University. Unfortunately they have little available information concerning the stamp albums. A reply from the Archivist stated “By chance I looked at the printed Annual Report for 1950-51, and found, under 'books published during the year': Stamps. Church teaching for the junior child. Book II. 6½d sheet. Christian Year. Set IV. 7½d sheet.
Stamps are not mentioned in the few years before and after 1950-51”
Neither the Junior nor the Christian Year have appeared in my collection as yet, but this does put 1947 as a possible date for the first albums, and shows how much a sheet of stamps cost. Despite all the inflation in the 60+ years since then, the cost of the stamp sheets would still only be about £1-3 at 2013 prices, depending on how past values are calculated.



Stamp Album

The dating and sequence of these albums has been difficult to deduce. While some other publishers have included a date for Easter SPCK have not. Most albums do have stamps with the Church Sunday indicated even counting the Sundays between Christmas Day and Easter and then counting the stamps give inconclusive and confusing results. Information I can work with is patchy. Some albums have an edition number on the rear cover. Some are collected by the same child and it can be assumed that they follow on from each other; even taking into account instances where the school has changed publishers. The publisher’s address on the rear cover changed and those with the same address can be grouped together. Only one album has a hand written date, and presumably refers to the start of the church year with Advent. Two styles of cover have been used. Some albums have a full colour illustration and glossy cover, while the others have mono-colour illustration on a matt coloured card cover. Strangely, one assumed to date from 1951-52 (see below) has a mono-colour cover while its successors have full coolour before reverting again.

The covers are 140x112mm while the stamps are 50x41mm with the particular day at the church year stated.

This album is presumed to be 1951-52 as it was part of a batch of four all likely to have been collected by Shirley Kitch, and seems to follow the other three (listed in the Shaw Picture pages). It is in excellent condition but the second half of the album is devoid of stamps, so likely she stopped attending.

The full colour glossy covered albums, on the evidence outlined above, are likely to be the earliest, perhaps dating 1950-51 and 1951-52. The first was collected by Donald Hawken of Roche, whose albums from other publishers are also shown here, may be missing 4 stamps, and the second by David Flintham of Scopwick is complete. This boy later collected Shaw Picture Co albums 1955-59. Both of these albums are in good condition.

1950-51 - album #3 (or 1949-50)

1951-52 - album #4 (or 1950-51)

In or around 1952 the covers changed to an apparently cheaper to produce format. The size and the stamp format remains the same as previously.
The 1952-53 album was collected by the Donald Hawken from above. 1952 is hand-written inside the cover and is the only one within the series to have such a clear indication of date. The cover condition is fair, but the staples have rusted and the middle pages are loose. Though complete of stamps this album are not like the those used for other albums by not have the Church Sunday, though the size and perforations are consistent with the others. Could the publishers have changed the format for a year or two and then re-adopted it? The 1953-54 album has ‘DH’ inside the cover and is assumed to be another Donald Hawken album. Again it is complete with stamps, though it shows clear signs of having been folded in half.
NOTE: Hawken had two Shaw albums, the earlier one having a written date of 1953 in the second half by a visiting minister, therefore these two are 1952-53 and 1953-54 albums. Which is incorrect? Assuming the visitor was correct (!) this casts doubt on Hawken’s date. Could he have written his 1952 after Christmas making that album 1951-52 in truth, the other red on buff covered album could actually be earlier eg 1950-51. This would imply that there was two series of albums running simultaneously; one with a deluxe glossy cover and one with a single colour image. The deluxe editions would need to be redated one year earlier. This explanation seems to fit the evidence best.

1952-53 or 1951-52

1953-54 or 1950-51

The next albums come from a few years later. Based on the edition numbering the #11 album dates from 1958-59 and the #13 from 1960-61. Both were collected by a Peter Evans of Hemel Hempstead. The earlier one is complete with stamps, while the later one is missing the final 10 stamps; both are in good condition.



A job lot of seven albums all from collector G.E. include two SPCK editions as well as five Church Assembly editions. They are said to be from the early 1960s and I assume from consecutive years. There are no clues as to whether these two came before or after the other five, or indeed if the slotted in the middle. What is certain is that the stamps are not those intended for these albums, and that remainders of CACC stamps were given to the children. The buff and red album only has 4 stamps but is in excellent condition. The reverse states Album #1, which based on the above deductions places it as 1958-59. The full colour front-paged album says #9 on the rear. This does not fit the with the above date deductions for either the plain or colour cover albums. It raises the possibility that there were two album series running concurrently and dates need to be revised. Again this has just 4 stamps and is in excellent condition.


Another additional to the collection cannot be dated, and does no have any collector information. The cover style and information on the cover suggests it was issued sometime between the 54-55 and the 57-58 albums. The stamps are complete for the first 27 weeks, but then one one more towards the end of the year.