90 years on, Correspondence Society celebrates milestone


JANUARY marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, which plans to hold special events throughout 2018.

The society began when a small group of enthusiasts, meeting in a garden shed at Cheltenham in September 1927, formed themselves unto the Cheltenham Spa Railway Club with Aubrey Broad as secretary and Leslie Lapper as treasurer. Later that year operations moved to a ‘club room’ in a member’s house.

Princess Coronation Pacific No. 46251 City of Nottingham at Swindon shed after bringing an RCTS special from Nottingham on May 9, 1964. POLYRUS/CREATIVE COMMONS

Various forms of publicity were tried to make the existence of the club better known such as newspaper advertisements, distributing leaflets on a Swindon educational excursion and even a dance in Cheltenham.

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In January 1928, Derek Barrie came on the scene and the breakthrough to national status came. It was agreed that as a title ‘Cheltenham Spa Railway Club’ lacked national appeal and ‘The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society’ came about.

The choice of this name apparently stemmed from an early scheme, which never came to anything, where there were to be ‘full’ members and ‘corresponding’ members which, nevertheless, left its mark on the title. Advertisements were placed in the March and April issues of The Railway Magazine inviting membership enquiries.

At the same time as this advertising campaign was running the society’s magazine was launched under the title of The Railway News.

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At the end of 1930 membership stood at about 350.

October 1931 saw the replacement of the Cheltenham-based management committee by one based in London under the chairmanship of John Kite.

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