One hundred years since the purchase of its legendary headquarters at 41 Devonshire Pl. in London, England, The Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) is moving to new and larger premises in the historic centre of the city of London at 15 Abchurch Ln.
While membership of The RPSL now stands at almost 2,400 people, the continuing growth of the society’s collections means its former location was no longer large enough to serve the needs of its members. In late 2016, the society’s council decided to purchase a larger, more convenient new home in central London. The search was led by past president Chris King, who took almost a year to find the new building.
“When we saw 15 Abchurch Ln. we knew that we had found the right place. Better still, every member who has seen it agrees that this is the place for us,” said King.
Work is now underway to complete the move by June 2019, which also marks the 150th anniversary of The RPSL, the world’s oldest and most prestigious philatelic society. Property consultant Gerald Eve is managing the project on behalf of the society while award-winning architect Tate Hindle is leading the redesign of the building. The final and most important priority is to ensure that all the necessary finances are in place.
RPSL President Patrick Maselis is leading the “Tomorrow’s Royal” fundraising campaign.
“The Society will continue to grow, develop and prosper in the next 100 years as it has in the last 150,” said Maselis.
For more information, visit rpsl.org.uk/abchurch.asp.
INSIDE THE BUILDING
Rather than try to describe the inside of the building, The RPSL compiled images to show each of the rooms on each of the floors.
To view the images, click here.
PRESENCE & GRAVITAS
According to a statement issued by The RPSL, the new building at 15 Abchurch Ln. has “presence and gravitas, and its location in the City of London will help the Society develop in the future.” The building has five storeys above ground level and two basement levels. It has always been a club and is presently occupied by the London Capital Club, which will be vacating the premises on July 31.
The building is constructed of a combination of brick and structural steel frame that supports a Portland stone façade to ground-, first- and second-floor levels on Abchurch Lane. This façade is richly carved in a style partially taken from the church next door, St Mary Abchurch, first mentioned in 1198-1199. The church was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren in 1681-86 after its destruction in the Great Fire of London.
A HISTORIC LOCATION
Abchurch Lane, first recorded as Abbechurche Lane in 1291, is a narrow street that was part of the old Roman city; in fact, a Roman wall was excavated nearby in 1855.
According to the society, its new location has a number of philatelic connections.
“The printing firm of Blades & East, later Blades, East & Blades, responsible for the first stamp issues of North Borneo, was at 11, and later 23, Abchurch Lane. As is widely known, Perkins, Bacon & Petch were the printers of the Penny Black. With its demise in 1935, a new company was formed called Perkins Bacon Ltd. It was owned by John Hubbard (1902-1976), past president of the Royal and its address was 22 Abchurch Lane, London EC4. Change Alley and Birkin Lane, where office boys bought, sold and exchanged stamps from the City trading houses as early as the 1860s, are close by.”