We've been contacted by a chap called Matthew with a request for help... hopefully one of our readers worked at the mill and can provide some information.
Over To Matthew
I have been scouring the web and pestering playing card "experts" about this for a week now, to no avail.
I am attaching some photographs.
From what I have discovered since emailing you, it looks like "Romney Series" was a brand of stationery etc. by Newton Mill, produced between the 1930s and 1950s and it looks as if they assembled bridge sets using their own printed score pads and bridge score cards, with playing cards sourced from Waddingtons, Thomas de La Rue and possibly others (they are so obscure it’s hard to be sure).
My notes, which I sent to the playing card museum I am a volunteer contributor to, are as follows:
""Romney Series" was a brand employed by Manchester (Hyde) stationery manufacturer Newton Mill.
This company produced various items of stationery, playing cards do not seem to have been one of them, however, they did release at least two Bridge sets. One I have is a delightful soft green leather case holding a single score pad and pencil plus two packs of Waddington's cards c1934.
The other is an embossed to look like crocodile skin, maroon, card case with a hinged lid and drop front containing two packs of De La Rue Rajah playing cards, c1934, four score pads each with its own pencil, a bridge score card (anonymous) and a "Bex Moulding" bakelite ashtray.
From the presence of the ashtray we can state, with some certainty, that Newton Mill produced these sets, probably printing their own score pads, bridge score cards, and had cases custom made and assembled them with varying quality cards of the time. The green leather case, obviously high quality, contains anonymised, gilt-edged Waddingtons cards as one finds in the Wills scheme.
The likelihood of two separate finds, both with substitute packs of cards, both from the same era, strikes me as rather unlikely, especially for something as unusual."
Can you provide any information at all about these?
Of particular interest is:
1) Did Newton Mill manufacture their own playing cards, or package another brand in their bridge sets?
2) When were these produced? Circumstantial evidence suggests some time between the 1930s and 1950s.