The Badge Collectors Circle was founded in 1980 by Frank Setchfield. The aims of the club were to discover and record the history of British non-uniformed badges, those badges worn by the British public, which reveal a great deal of our social history.
Frank had collected a multitude of things as a child in the 1950-60s including badges.
Whilst at Ripon College he ran a student 'newsletter' called Colditz. The official rag magazine had been banned but 'Colditz' quickly caught on as a more regular replacement and resulted in a charity revue in 1977 and the production of a button badge. This was the late 1970s and the UK was in the grip of a badge explosion. From the popular culture of punk rock through to political pressure group campaigns Frank recognised the social history and became a serious collector of button badges, and it was not difficult, as they seemed to be everywhere.
The Circle began as a direct result of the Midland Arts group badge exhibition in Nottingham in December 1979. Frank was able to get in touch with the collectors who exhibited and those who just came to view as well as other collectors who he had corresponded with in 1978-9. The first newsletter went out in July 1980 free of charge and the Circle was born.
These humble beginnings in 1980 saw a newsletter going out every month of the year. These early newsletters were often very thin as the Circle tried to find its way. Collectors of all types of badges were gradually attracted. By 1982 over sixty collectors had joined ranging from Trade Union, Brewery, Golly, Football, Rugby, Advertising, Butlins holiday camps, Cycling, Home Front, and of course general collectors such as Frank himself who collected Button badges.
A change in 1983 saw the Newsletters going out bi-monthly and it was Newsletter 42 in July 1985 that was first titled ‘The Badger’. The title stuck and became synonymous with the club, collectors more often saying they were a member of ‘The Badger’ rather than the longer winded ‘Badge Collectors Circle’.