by John Ineson
The views by Hallvard Slettebø (SGSC Bulletin Nov/Dec 1997) concerning the registration labels used at the 1929 World Jamboree were most interesting, and needed further research. Therefore I recently visited the Post Office Archives and Records Office at the Mount Pleasant Complex in London to try and find out more about this, as well as the Darlington and Mount Edgcumbe cancels.
It is known that Registered items were sent from Mount Edgcumbe, but to date I have not heard of any being sent from Darlington. Despite spending the whole day at the Records Office, I could not find any mention of the Arrowe Park camp and it appears that no records still exist. The files of 1936 were also of no help, although when on looking through one called "Mobile Post Offices", I found information concerning the new Mobile Post Office vehicle (registration number GPO 1) which was intended to be used for the first time at the Jamboree at Mount Edgcumbe. Unfortunately it was not ready in time so all the publicity went to the Marden Fruit Show in Kent. All details about this show were kept including how many registered items were sent, but alas there is no information about our two Jamborees.
The 1929 World Jamboree Meter Slogan
It is now nearly seventy years since the 1929 World Jamboree Meter Slogan was used by the Scout Headquarters in London. At the time very few collectors considered these worth saving and that is why until recently only three examples dated 6th, 12th and 16th July had been recorded. However, within the last few months a further slogan has come on the market dated 16th May 1929, being over seven weeks earlier than those previously reported.
The four known specimens all display a slipping impression of the left hand side of the postage frank. This meter mark, printed in red, shows "London SW 1 ", although in the one dated 12th July, the figure "1" appears to have fallen out, leaving it as "London SW"
The first reference to the meter slogan in our journals was written in February 1967 by the late Len Bowen who was probably one of the first Scout Stamp collectors in the world. He had written to the Boy Scout Imperial Headquarters in 1929 as a fifteen year old Patrol Leader after reading an article in the weekly magazine "The Scout" stating:-
"a lot of Patrol Leaders were slack in their duties and did not give their Scouts enough outdoor Scouting or pay attention to the smartness of their uniforms on Scout nights "
Len continues ........"I realised the difficulties of boys in poor areas, miles away from the open country side, with parents unemployed because of the world trade slump, but trying to be as good Scouts as those from rural areas or places where parents had more material wealth. I wrote to the Editor pointing out the problems involved and he, being a gentleman, replied. Being somewhat sentimentally inclined I kept the letter and its envelope during the next few years while I was still in the Scouts.
In 1931 and 1932 Romania issued sets of Scout stamps, causing an article to appear in the Stamp Collecting corner of the "The Scout" suggesting that Scouts interested in philately could form a small sideline collection of stamps connected with Scouting (remember the Czechoslovakia Scout Post. The Siam "Wild Tiger's" and the Hungary 1925 1000 korona had already been issued, now the Romanian sets and with the Hungary 1933 Jamboree stamps soon to come). I had been collecting foreign stamps from the age of eleven and this suggestion struck me as a good idea. At this time also, the use of postage meter franking machines was still somewhat in its infancy, and any that came the way of stamp collectors were kept as novelties. The foresight of the then Editor of "The Stamp Magazine" Albert H.Harris made him realise that here in fact was a new specialised subject in the embryo stage, and he began to collect and write specialised articles on the various types of meter machines in use throughout the world. These articles appeared in his magazine and in one of them I read that the best way to collect meter frankings was to cut them off the envelopes to a standard size of something like 6 x 1 1/2 inches ( 150 x 40 mm) , when they could be neatly mounted on album pages.
Some time after I had mounted up my meter frankings into a small collection I came across the envelope from Scout H.Q. and thought to myself "another specimen"! - so out came a pair of scissors and a ruler and I carefully cut the meter franking off the envelope and mounted it with the others".
We now know why we have never seen a 1929 World Jamboree meter slogan on cover, and after all these years it is very unlikely that many more will appear in the future. It is surprising that with this cancellation being in use for at least two months, no more have survived.