The Gospel Stamps

The Gospel Stamps

The Whitwell Press or Plaistow Press
3 New Plaistow Road
London E15

The Gospel Stamp Album

Originally owned by Peter Boyd, attending Bombay Cathedral, despite being a UK distributed album. The cover measures 135 by 110 mm. The cover is rigid card with a textured finish and with an embossed gold ornamentation; very smart even though it is faded and worn a bit after nearly 100 years.

Click album images to enlarge



The stamps are rather incomplete. They measure 36x31mm, in full colour, and are perforated.



The following albums all have their own distinct style, with characteristic artwork by T. Noyes Lewis. Whether he is responsible for the stamp artwork too is unknown, but it is likely.

A 1929-30 albums and a pair, all originally belonging to siblings, from 1930-31 have protective paper sleeves for the covers. Though these are worn and a bit grubby the sleeves have protected the albums quite well, for all three are in A+ condition and the covers themselves have very vibrant covers. It is possible that the later albums below also had sleeves originally, but these have been lost. The years have been deduced by the Sunday dates and Easter. These years are the only possible for consecutive years.
The 1929-30 album was Ethel Cherryer’s. It is missing only two Sunday stamps, but includes a birthday stamp on the special days pages at the end. Her 1930-31 album again is only short of two stamps, but has two Never Absent Never Late stamps. Her sister Georgina’s is complete apart from four stamps, As these were different days to Ethel, it is more likely that sickness may have been the cause rather than a family holiday.

                                                                         The paper sleeve



A full album from 1932-33 of 64 stamps plus a birthday stamp. It is not known if the spaces for the stamps were for specific stamps, or why there were so many spaces. The stamps stuck in start with four of the Trinity Sunday stamps before moving onto Advent (which is unusual), and some stamps are repeated while others are out of order. Midway through the album a new style of larger stamp takes over; these a more general religious pictures and titles rather than for a specific Sunday. They are however larger than the space for a stamp, so not intended for this album. It seems the stamps were given out on a what was available basis, rather than strictly as intended.
The album measures 110x135mm, and is card fronted (perhaps the back cover is missing). The earlier stamps are 24x38mm and the later ones 30x50mm. It was owned by an Edna Smith of Hugginton or Mugginton (the hand writing is difficult to read).



This example of the 1934-35 album was collected by Beryl Loftly, of St Peter’s Church, Hethersett. It is in excellent condition but lacks a number of stamps. However in some blank spaces ‘Present’ is written in by hand, so either the school were short of some stamps or Beryl forgot to take her book along and never got the stamps! Inside the back cover the teacher has written “47. A good record as you have a long way to come. Be careful to get your stamps for each Sunday”. The cover illustration is credited to H.W.Forster.


A very neat, clean and tidy 1935-36 album, owned by Dorothy Taylor of Owlesbury, a village in Hampshire. Though the cover states 1936 this must mean 1935-36 as she also collected the following three years of Faith Press albums which commence 1936-37. The album and the stamps are similar in style and format to the 1932 edition. It is missing 15 Sunday’s worth of stamps including an eight week run at the end of the year. The artwork is T. Noyes-Lewis work.

Was this the final edition of The Gospel Stamps? That could be the reason why Owlesbury Sunday School changes to another publisher. No later editions dated to later than 1936 are known to me.



Unknown Date

This album is assumed to be 1930s from the style, but there are no clues from the stamps or album. The cover is rigid textured card and is illustrated by Thomas Noyes-Lewis (he had illustrated the albums of The Faith Press up to around 1930).Unfortunately the spine binding has worn and the front cover is loose (perhaps repairable). apart from that it is quite clean and tidy. The album was owned by a Dorothy Burton of Back Lane, Nazeing, a small village in Essex. She attended All Saints Church in the village. The stamps are similar to both the 1932 album and the next one listed even more so, but use the smaller format throughout. For this reason I date it later than that example.






Another year is represented in the collection by a teacher’s multiple full sets of 54 stamps all unused, in a segmented box, with an unused album measuring 104x124 mm for 1963-64. The box has instructions and reordering details. There is no definite indication of age, though 1950s or 1960s are most likely. While the album is from such a later date, the stamps are quite typical of those from the 1930s. The album artwork is by T. Noyes-Lewis, even thaough it is nearly twenty years after his death.



Stamps are 31x37 mm in size and are in very full colour

These stamps are from a different year, probably very close to that above, due to the close similarities. The arrangement in a block shows how the stamp sheets were printed; one stamp per Sunday per sheet as opposed to printing a sheet of 54 identical stamps.

This block has been used in conjunction with this statement; “One of the most popular programs to build attendance among children 100 years ago were “Church Attendance Stamps. Most popular in Great Britain, the trend crossed to America after World War I. In the 1920s, kids attending such churches were given pretty paperback stamp albums with a rectangle labeled for each Sunday of the Christian calendar. If you missed a Sunday, you missed that colorful stamp for the year!” Does this infer that these particular stamps were used in the USA, or were they just borrowed from this site for illustrative purposes!

Example from yet another year. While it looks like a sheet of 25 stamps, these would appear to be a carefully scanned group. Sheets with this number of stamps would not fit in with the number of stamps required for the albums.


An oddity

This is a a small collection of typical Gospel Stamps housed in a rather small autograph album. There is nothing to suggest that the stamps were for school attendance, and they could represent a child’s collection. This is backed up by the stamps not being stuck-in in any logical sequence and much duplication. After the stamps there are a few autographs (no-one famous) which are dated 1957. There is no reason to accept or reject these as being contemporary with the stamps.