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Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.
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Author:  earsathome [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.

Hi All,
Any help with the following query would be appreciated.

Images attached of one of 3 letters we have addressed to Lord Archibald Hamilton, between 1765 and 1798.

The Receiving house stamp of Charing Cross unpaid Penny Post stamp is on the front
The Westminster office transfer stamp is on the fold of the letter, at the back dated 19 MY 98
(two isolated and ‘improved’ images of those two stamps also attached)

The question I have is on the address -

what is after 11 Gro’ Place on the last line ?

It looks like a figure 2 and then maybe a J or a T in script, or possibly a Q (which was often written like a figure 2) and then something else.

The address on one of the other letters is simply ’Uppr Gros’ Place with no number.

Eunice and Ron

(18.1 KiB)
(20.5 KiB)
(103.4 KiB)

Author:  Winston W [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.

Eunice and Ron

I'm sure the manuscript writing below the handstruck Penny Post mark is the figure 2. About an inch to the left is a long vertical stroke with what looks like a z through it. That is the figure 1, which has been crossed out, and replaced by the 2.

However there are two things I can't help you with.
1. Why was 2d charged when the rate did not increase from 1d to 2d for town use until 1801?
2. What is the manuscript mark sitting above the tail of the figure 2? I speculate is it the capital initlal J , put there by the official who uprated it to 2, but to emphasise, that is just my speculation.


Author:  earsathome [ Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.

Thanks for this reply Winston We had noted that it was a 1d charge mark, but missed that it had been cancelled, so that does look as if you are right, that the 2 instructional mark was initialled by the person who did it.

We checked back on Brumell’s book, and this is the relevant paragraph
The principal changes to the regulations were authorised by an Act of March 28th 1794.
The rate on a letter from the country area to the town area was now made 2d, previously only letter delivered in the country were charged 2d

Why we cannot be absolutely sure of this is that there is no indication of where the letter was put into the post, the only address on the letter being 18 Buckingham Street, which sounds as if it is also within the London town area. We did a map search and it is in St Martins in the Fields, and about 2 or 3 streets away from Charing Cross Station, so this would have to be in the Town area of the Twopenny Post.
We can find no information or reference to the sender S. Massey
Thanks again
Eunice and Ron

Author:  Winston W [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.

Eunice and Ron

I wonder if (Upper) Grosvenor Place in 1798 was considered 'country'?

It was just within the town area in this "Map of London, shewing the BOUNDARIES of the GENERAL and Two Penny Post" of 1830 that you can see from the British Library in the Crace collection of London maps at ... 88391.html

However the area to the west of Buckingham Palace had been essentially countryside. The only buildings on (Upper) Grosvenor Place were two or three hospitals until about 1780. Town was defined by custom, until the three mile radius from the GPO was set in 1831 that included Grosvenor Place (you can see a map of this at ... 88394.html).

Thus my working supposition is that the area to the west of Buckingham Palace including Grosvenor Place had been considered county and perhaps it took a little while after Grosvenor Place became more built up in c1780 for the town area to be extended westwards slightly and for the area that included Grosvenor Place to get town status. If I'm right, that would explain the 2d charge, with your letter going from town to county.


Author:  earsathome [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help sought with 1798 London letter marking.

Thanks again for that Winston. The map of the London Town area in Alan Robertson’s book is not as detailed as that, so the links you gave are much better for this letter, so thanks for finding them and giving them to us. It looks as though that could be the answer to the 2d charge.

We find that many of our old letters give us a lot of questions, some of which just have to stay unanswered, so we just do the best we can. We have about 160 of them up our website and this link will take you to that letter page in date order from 1660-1894 ... ersov.html

We have been collecting for decades and tried initially to obtain one of each postmark type, (not done yet!) but we split them and have different sections about them on our site
Ron and Eunice

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