Philatelic Congress of Great Britain

     Harrogate Crowne Plaza Hotel

Philatelic Congress of Great Britain

23rd – 26th September 2021

Plans are now in place for the 102nd Philatelic Congress of Great Britain which this year is being held in the picturesque town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire.

To download the application form for this year’s Congress click here

to download the draft programme, click here

The event will be based at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – one of the leading hotels of the town. The Congress organising committee has been joined by members of local philatelic societies to help plan and run the event, and to ensure there is a true Yorkshire feel to the event!

The Congress will be a significant milestone as it sees the centenary of the signing of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP). Also, because the 2020 Congress had to be cancelled, there will be two groups signing the roll – the RDPs from 2020 and those elected in 2021! An invitation to sign the Roll is regarded as the world’s pre-eminent philatelic honour. 365 philatelists from 40 countries have achieved this distinction. There are at present 76 living signatories from 24 countries. The RDPs attending Congress also traditionally give displays of their own philatelic material. True gems have been seen over the years and we look forward to what we will see in 2021!

As well as the RDP ceremony the prestigious Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS) Congress medal and Awards of Merit will also be presented to their recipients during the course of the Congress.

Away from awards, the event will include a wide variety of philatelic presentations with material covering a very broad spectrum of interests. The Kay Goodman lecture, to be given on the Friday morning of Congress, looks each year at a significant issue within the hobby. This year the lecture will focus on the future of the hobby in the light of the pandemic when local, national and international meetings were not possible. How will the hobby recover? In what direction will the hobby move? How will meetings be held? Is the use of Zoom something that is with us in to the future? These are some of the issues that will be addressed.

On the lighter side, the programme of events will also include the traditional “Four sheets to tell a story” competition on the Thursday evening, the Harrogate Philatelic Society will entertain after dinner on the Friday evening and a dealers’ bourse will take place on the Saturday afternoon!

There will also be time during the Congress to see the town of Harrogate itself. It has many interesting shops, the Valley Gardens, the Royal Hall and other attractions including the world famous Bettys Tea Rooms!        For full details of how to book for Congress, including booking rooms at the Crowne Plaza hotel, contact Steven Harrison,

Vice Chairman of ABPS, by emailing him at calling him on 0121 313 0671

or even writing to him at 56 Woodberry Drive, Sutton Coldfield B76 2RH.

The booking form will also be available on the ABPS website from May 17th.

Other hotels and accommodation are available in Harrogate to suit all pockets. Information is available from the Harrogate Tourist Information Centre – 01423 537300.

Congress was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. This year we are looking forward to meeting up again with old friends – and making new friends too!

Congress Information

       Kay Goodman

The 2021 Kay Goodman Lecture – a talk not to be missed

Each year the ABPS Philatelic Congress of GB includes the Kay Goodman Lecture which is intended to stimulate discussion.  This year’s event Have Philatelic Societies a Future?  is no exception.  There have been many lectures on the subject but still societies close at a steady rate.  This past year we have embraced technology and this is undoubtedly the way forward for societies to join the 21st Century.  This lecture explores how even the smallest society can survive and grow.

The speaker is Richard Smith, Secretary of Leeds Philatelic Society, and his enthusiasm has helped the Leeds Society achieve a FEPA Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Activities for the Promotion of Philately.

Memorial Lecture 2018: The Future of Philately

This detailed paper by the W4 group for Congress 2018 can be downloaded below.

The Future of Philately As Seen in 2018 (157 downloads)

The History of Congress

Maintaining a long tradition, each year the ABPS organises the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain.

The first Philatelic Congress of Great Britain was held in Manchester in 1909. Barring interruptions due to war, they have been held annually ever since. The venue moves each year. Congress is the opportunity to meet with fellow collectors for a relaxing few days in pleasant surroundings. The events include discussions, displays and visits, plus the ever-enjoyable Congress Banquet.

The highlight for many is the occasion at which both the Congress Medal is presented, and the new signatories to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists are invited to sign the Roll. More often than not, this is linked with a reception hosted by the town or city in which the Congress is held.

Other organisations, particularly the major stamp auction houses, also often host special events during the Congress.

Congress provides an ideal way of enjoying oneself in the company of fellow collectors.

A fully illustrated history of “100 years of the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain, 1909-2009” was published by Colin Searle for the ABPS in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-9561905-0-5). An index to the people mentioned in this book is available by clicking the download link below.

100 Years Of The Philatelic Congress (236 downloads)

For those with a special interest in the history and the collection of memorabilia connected with the PCGB, there is a Society that you can join to find out much more about the events. Follow the “Philatelic Congress of GB Study Group” on Facebook.

Congress 100 years cover