"Old Boys" and their memories of the Collegiate School 

Astley Clerk as a young philatelist

Daily Gleaner, May 28, 1910

"Old Boys"

 If, like the Poet, the Philatelist is born not
then am I a "born" philatelist, for
from a very
early age did the "craze," as
anti-stampists love to term it, lay hold on
me. As a boy of eight I
used to
accompany my father to his place of

business every Saturday. All the clerks,
the exception of two or three, were
Jews and consequently did not
work on the Saturday and so I was in
 no one's way as I
wandered here and there
through the office
poking my hands into
every waste paper
basket and dirt barrel
and detaching from
envelopes and
wrappers the pretty pieces
of coloured
papers which had paid the postage
on letters from different lands. The
thus found I took home with me
and pasted
into an ordinary 1/- exercise
book, devoting a page to each country.
This book I still have,
and find that the
crest and flag (obtained
from the B. O. P.)
of each country adorns the
top right and
left hand corners, and under
each stamp
I wrote the date of issue,
watermark, and
other particulars which the
could give me.
 No one in the office collected, in fact, the
collectors in Kingston in those days could have been counted on the fingers of both
hands and
there would have been fingers
still to spare, so I
had it all my own sweet
way, and many was the
good stamp, West
Indian especially, for the firm
dealt largely
with the islands, that I saved from an

untimely ending and a grave in the West End. By the time I was sent to a boys' school, the dear old Collegiate of Radcliffe and Morrison fame, I had a very fair collection indeed. A few of my school mates
collected and among them I did some

exchanging stamp for stamp, and purchasing. Many is the day I cheerfully parted with my lunch money to buy a stamp
instead. Even as a
beginner, and every
youthful beginner is a
generalist, and, may
be it is wise that it should be
so, my likes
and dislikes for certain countries were
pronounced. There were some places,
Russia, Germany, to instance two, which,
although I kept,
I simply detested and never
worried over too much; there were others,
Jamaica, Hayti, America,
for example, which
appealed to my heart and
soul, and on these,even then, I spent most of my spare
cash. When, as a lad of 18, I left school, I

owned a really fine general collection.