Report of the Meeting, May 6th 2017
Lehnert & Landrock (Roman Rimonis, ESC 486)
PRESENT: Eleven Officers and Members attended. Apologies were received from five members.

Opening his first meeting as Chairman, John Davis welcomed all those present, and especially Roman Rimonis (ESC 486), our speaker for the day, attending his first meeting in a membership of 20 years. The Chairman also noted with great regret the recent passing of Joan Jeyes, the wife of our long-standing member Alan Jeyes (ESC 293).

The Chairman mentioned that after many years in office our Treasurer, Brian Sedgley, had expressed a wish to stand down at the next AGM. Any member willing to take over should contact the Chairman or Secretary.

The Secretary then announced the result of a recent attempt to tidy up the long chase after members’ subscriptions, noting that large amounts of time and expense had been expended in trying to elicit responses from non-payers. The result is several resignations, more lapsings, and sadly, a net loss of 13 members. He announced that subscription dates and rates would be advertised strongly in the September and December QCs, and that non-payers would get short shrift. To set against the loss, he announced two new member applications, and the meeting welcomed Roy Burnett from Aberdeen and Mohammed Seif of Sharjah.

He also announced that our Egyptian colleagues would be holding another ambitious continental exhibition in March 2019, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Philatelic Society of Egypt, and invited members to plan for what is likely to be a spectacular occasion. In other news from Egypt, he welcomed Madame Ghada Fouad as the new head of the Postal Museum in Ataba and the Philatelic Bureau: there are high hopes of great progress under her energetic and resourceful tenure

Time has unfortunately moved on, and the original L&L façade
has been left behind – until the tourists return to Cairo

Turning to 2018 meetings, he apologised for the limited time available at Stampex for the AGM and Live Auction – which raised a net total of £290 commission for the Circle despite a notable reduction in the number of postal bids – and it was decided that the whole of the Stampex meeting next spring should be devoted to the Auction, with the AGM to follow at the May meeting.

In the absence of Edmund Hall (Webmaster/Editor), Neil Hitchens (ESC 651) reported on progress in the gradual (and let’s hope long-term) handover of the website’s intricacies. He announced that he had been in close contact with Edmund and was confident that, though there was much to learn, continuity of site access and development would be assured should the need arise. The learning curve continues.

Wearing his Librarian cap, the Chairman noted that members may not be fully aware of what the Library contained, and suggested that awareness might be increased if members borrowed books and wrote a few review paragraphs for publication in the QC.

Sami Sadek (ESC 559), who is engaged with Ibrahim Shoukry and Mike Murphy in a new examination of the TPO service, extending and expanding the late Peter Smith’s The Travelling Post Offices of Egypt, made a request to all members to seek out examples of TPO markings and forward the details, with scans or photocopies. The more markings that can be viewed, the more comprehensive the final volume.

Our speaker, Roman Rimonis, who hails from Yorkshire, has been a constant visitor to Egypt over the past 19 years, and after discovering the delights of the Lehnert and Landrock bookshop in central Cairo, has formed a firm friendship with Edouard Lambelet, the son of Kurt Lambelet, stepson of the bookkeeper Ernst Heinrich Landrock, who founded the business with Rudolf Franz Lehnert, the photographer.

The original aim was to sell Lehnert’s photographs of North Africa, and the business opened up in Tunis in 1904, at the height of the postcard-publishing craze. The move to Cairo was made in 1924, and it was in about 1950 that Kurt Lambelet took over, enlarging the business from postcard publishing to a very well-stocked bookshop catering for tourists and employing as many as 35 people at its height.

Roman Rimonis was abler to describe and illustrate a wide range of the postcards produced by the business, and showed how the same designs were used and reused over time, gradually losing quality from the original sharp and clear photograph as printing methods changed and cards were colourised to have more appeal.

Many of the cards were typical tourist views, with occasional legal contretemps about copyright of the original photograph, but the company also published fine-art prints, guide books, greetings cards and calendars and eventually – after waiting 40 years for copyright permission – opened a shop with cards illustrating ancient artefacts in the Egyptian Museum. The heart of the magnificent collection of rare photographic gems was a set of glass plates originally seized by the French authorities in 1914 and lost for decades but only fairly recently rediscovered and restored – a true treasure-house of history.

Prints from these plates helped to support a flourishing business, popular with Cairenes and tourists alike, until the recent political turmoil reduced the number of visitors to Cairo to little more than a trickle. The main shop on Sherif Street has been closed and a much smaller establishment set up on Abdel Khalek Sarwat Street close to the PSE headquarters. Happily, there is now a Facebook site ( full of photographs and memories. Just like our meeting.

The Chairman closed the meeting by congratulating Roman on a “completely eye-opening impression of the history of Lehnert and Landrock”. Members expressed their great appreciation.

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