L’Estrange Ewen, Herbert (1876 to 1912)

Lived at 32 Palace Square in 1901 and 1911

On the 1901, Census, is Boarder, Herbert L’Estrange Ewen (aged 24) (Bn 6 July 1876 Offord D’Arcy, Hunts D 1 October 1912, aged 36). A Dealer in Postage Stamps.

On the 1911 Census for 32 Palace Square, he was a Lodger (single aged 34) and a Managing Director of Stamp Importers (Limited Company.  He was a British Stamp Dealer and Philatelist, originally in Swanage and later in Norwood.  He was an authority on railway stamps.

He collected stamps at the age of ten and started his own company, H. L’Estrange Ewen Company, on his thirteenth birthday (1889).

Herbert L’Estrange Ewen was the publisher of the monthly ‘English Specialists’ Journal’ which ran from 1895 to 1897 and of ’Ewen’s Weekly Stamp News’(EWSN) from 1899.  In 1914 the Evening News stated that he was selling German stamps overprinted Belgien and accused him of trading with the enemy.  Trading with Germany and its allies had been illegal in Britain since the beginning of World War I under the Trading with the Enemy Act 1914.  Ewen replied in EWSN for 30 January 1915, that the stamps had been brought to England by two Belgian soldiers as their only asset and they had obtained them from a German official in Brussels.  Official approval for the sale had been obtained from the British Home Office.

In 1949, his collection of railway letter stamps for the period 1891 to 1912 with sheets, proofs, and covers was given to the British Museum by his sister, Mrs Clement Williams and is now in the British Library Philatelic Collections as ‘The Ewen Collection’.

A newspaper article dated Thursday 11 September 1902, says the following:-

Thursday 11 September 1902

At 32 Palace Square, Norwood, a Mr Herbert L’Estrange Ewen, has for a matter of ten or twelve years past carried on business as a stamp dealer and philatelic publisher.  It is called by interested parties a “well known business,” but I am not a stamp gatherer, and on this point, I am content to take the “well-known” for granted.  What interests me is the fact that the business has been brought into the joint-stock field with a title of Ewen’s Colonial Stamp Market and a share capital of £20,000 and Six per cent.  Debentures are to the amount of £10,000.  The last are now offered for subscription through the medium of a prospectus which has been circulated quietly among the firm’s customers and others, especially others.  It is an odd prospectus.  Mr Herbert L’Estrange Ewen is described as Governing Director and Chairman, and apparently he will run the concern alone, much on the Elat c’est moi principle, I suppose.  At least, no other names are mentioned.  The prospectus states that the purchase price is £10,000, to be paid “as to £3 10s in cash and as to the remainder satisfied by the allotment at par of 10,000 Preference shares of £1 each, 10s paid and thus leaving a liability of £10,000.  Of the purchase price £4,800 is paid in respect of goodwill which includes the copyrights” – presumably, of Ewen’s Weekly Stamp News, “the only weekly philatelic publication in Europe, with a large and increasing circulation.”  Has Mr Ewen himself valued the assets?  If so, is the gentleman not aware that this is scarcely the ticket?  The amount required to pay the Debenture interest is £600 and by way of assurance as to payment, we are told “the earnings are confidently anticipated to be sufficient to provide for this charge many times over.”  But the business has been carried on since.