Stamps of the British Empire.

Printed: Circa 1925

Publisher: Stanley Gibbons. London

Edition: Thirty-fifth edition

Dimensions 14 × 19 × 2.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 14 x 19 x 2.5

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)

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Item information


Red cloth binding with black title on the spine and front board.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feel and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Rare and illuminating – a snapshot in time

1925 was a difficult period for the British Empire

The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley Park, London England from 23 April to 1 November 1924 and from 9 May to 31 October 1925.

In 1920 the British Government decided to site the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley Park, on the site of the pleasure gardens created by Edward Watkin in the 1890s. A British Empire Exhibition had first been proposed in 1902, by the British Empire League, and again in 1913. The Russo-Japanese War had prevented the first plan from being developed and World War I put an end to the second, though there had been a Festival of Empire in 1911, held in part at Crystal Palace.

One of the reasons for the suggestion was a sense that other powers, ie America and Japan, were challenging Britain on the world stage. Despite victory in World War I, this was in some ways even truer in 1919. The country had economic problems and its naval supremacy was being challenged by two of its former allies, the USA and Japan. In 1917 Britain had committed itself eventually to leave India, which effectively signalled the end of the British Empire to anyone who thought about the consequences, while the Dominions had shown little interest in following British foreign policy since the war. It was hoped that the Exhibition would strengthen the bonds within the Empire, stimulate trade and demonstrate British greatness both abroad and at home, where the public was believed to be increasingly uninterested in Empire, preferring other distractions, such as the cinema.

Wembley Urban District Council was opposed to the idea, as was The Times, which considered Wembley too far from Central London.

A world tour headed by Major Ernest Belcher in 1922 that lasted 10 months was mounted to promote participation in the Exhibition, with Agatha Christie and her husband among the participants.

The British Empire Exhibition would run from 1924 to 1925 and made Wembley a household name. In 1919 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) had become the President of the organising committee for the proposed Exhibition at Wembley Park, north-west London, although the closing ceremony was presided over by his brother, the future George VI. The Prince, at the time, also wished for the Exhibition to boast “a great national sports ground”, and so exercised some influence on the creation of Wembley Stadium at Wembley Park in 1923.

Collectors of postage stamp catalogues would be delighted to own this copy of Stamps of the British Empire put out by the famous Stanley Gibbons company in 1925

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