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BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY........................... ............................................................November 1946.


(A copy of this issue, believed to be the final one, has yet to be located.)


The three pillars of British fandom through the war years were FUTURIAN WAR DIGEST, the Cosmos Club, and the British Fantasy Society. FWD had ceased publication with the end of the war in Europe more than a year earlier, but now the other two were also on the way out. Cosmos Club member John Aiken later wrote of the of the final days of the CSC that:

"...with the dispersal of the more active members to the Forces, to other jobs, and to increasing domestic responsibilities, and with the growth of that sloth which is now almost nation-wide so far as non-essential activity is concerned, began the decline. Members could no longer screw themselves up to write for or even criticise the magazines; they could not decide whether they wished to attend meetings until it was too late; the treasurer could not bring himself to collect the new year's subscriptions; finally no-one could be found to take on any of the club duties. The last issue of BEYOND - no. 10 - appeared a year or so late, in the summer of 1946; no. 11 is still on the stocks. Dennis Tucker's issue of COSMIC CUTS towards the end of that year was the last dying flicker of club activity, describing meetings which had sunk to the level of pub-crawls and theatre-parties, pleasant enough but demanding no individual effort. The library dispersed in one direction, the files of BEYOND in another, the club's balance in a third."
D.R.Smith's resignation as Secretary appears to have been the final blow for the BFS, with no-one apparently willing to take up the reins. Looking back on the Society, D.R.Smith reached this conclusion:

"The organisation was fundamentally unsound. The Executive Council consisting of President Gillings, Director Rosenblum, Secretary Smith (D.R.) and Treasurer Busby lived remote from each other and had to confer through circular letters, than which a more tedious and inefficient method could hardly be conceived. The other two will forgive me if I say that most of the actual work devolved on Michael and myself. I being both idle and unsocial this brought it down to Rosenblum. Michael had enthusiasm, energy and sociability, but he had been producing a fan-magazine for ten years, he maintained a huge correspondence with fans and book-collectors both here and in America, and his health began to deteriorate. Transfer of the library to Ron Holmes and Nigel Lindsay made an asset out of what had been for too long a liability, but the end of the war brought no signs of any fan resurgence in which the management of the BFS could be transferred to more lively, less-wearied hands, and the iniquitous Secretary put more honest enthusiasm into winding it up than he had put into any other activity."
And so as 1946 drew to a close, the last vestiges of wartime fandom faded away, but the shape of the post-war SF fan/pro community could already be seen with the launch of NEW WORLDS and the start of the regular meetings of London fans at the White Horse. In 1948, Cosmos Club alumni John Newman would organise the very first postwar UK convention - held in a room over the White Horse - that would be the first in the series of UK national conventions (now called Eastercons) that continue to this day.