The Vellum - A 50 year collection

At the end of the momentous 50th anniversary GFS year, two friends got together to work on a project that would hopefully draw the curtain on the first fifty years and perhaps their efforts would allow members to gain valuable knowledge of the history and development of the Society from its birth in 1961 right up to the end of 2011.

Peter Pollard and Peter Lee decided to digitize a complete collection of The Vellum magazine including all the extra issues and supplements that have been produced to celebrate anniversaries in the 50-year history.

This of course would not be an easy task. Some very long-standing members do own complete sets but obviously they are very few in number – consider the fact that in August 2012 there are only four surviving founder members and it is not guaranteed that they own a complete set.

It was also realized when examining some of the earliest issues that because of the way that they had been printed; the text on the page was fading and in years to come would be unreadable. So it was surely time to attempt to assemble a complete digitized collection that could be made available to the GFS archives and anyone else who might wish to own it.

Two hundred and nine issues dating back to issue no.1 are in the collection. The Vellum actually failed to produce an issue between 1964 and part of 1965 but thankfully founder member John Walley recognized the need to have some sort of communication and single-handedly produced five newsletters to cover this period in time, the newsletters are all included in the compilation.

Every page of every issue went through various computer processes before they were judged to be presentable. One nice feature is that each issue is capable of being word searched although it must be stressed that in the early years the search is not as reliable as the issues produced over the last 25 years.

The whole project was started in January 2012 and it was not thought that it could be completed before the end of this year – but once work was started, both Peter’s worked constantly to get the job done in half that time.

The DVD collection is to be donated to the GFS archives but if members wish to own the collection, it will be made available in the GFS shop. The collection will be available only in the GFS Shop both on the Internet and in Blackpool at the GFS conventions at £40.

It must be emphasized that the DVD disc can only be accessed via a PC computer; it will not play in a conventional television DVD player. You must have access to a computer to view the collection and that computer must have a PDF reader installed on the system, probably the best is Adobe Reader – and this is free software and is easily downloaded – in fact the majority of computers will already have this software installed.

The complete work on DVD is a fantastic history lesson on the life of the George Formby Society, George and Beryl Formby and of course, the Vellum editors and members themselves. Without their efforts over the last fifty years this compilation would not exist.

The images to the right are just small examples of some of the screens on the disc.
Peter Pollard
July 2012

  • Windows PC only
  • Searchable contents (more unreliable on very early issues)
  • Drop-down window on each magazine details its contents
  • Contents of each magazine are linked to appropriate page/s
  • Magazines can be printed
  • Every written word from the first 50 years
  • A complete collection to the end of 2011

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    1960's Vellum screen
    1960's bookshelf
    DVD disc
    My sincere thanks to GFS member Caroline Robson for taking the trouble to demonstrate some of the features of the collection. Peter Pollard