Back in 1900 the main method for communication comprised mainly of sending a letter when normally the recipient would receive it within about 2 days dependent on the recipients UK address.
Today's methods of communication varies quite considerably with a large majority of it being transmitted via email, telephone, text, radio and TV and also to a diminishing extent via the postal service in the form of letters.
Back then the majority of communications was made by letter, using the postal system due to the fact it was reasonably cheap and that many forms of communication that we have today did not exist with the exception of the telegraph system, but the price to pay in sending a telegram was colossal, here is a copy of a telegram consisting of 9 words sent from Ireland to South Africa in 1900 at a cost of £3, in today's money that equates to £390 (£43 per word) taking inflation into account.
Of the £3 paid I can account for £1 4 shillings to the front of the telegram therefore £1 16 shillings of cancelled stamps must reside on the reverse.
Under normal circumstances telegrams should have been destroyed after storage but many were pilfered en-route, imagine having a bag full of these telegrams at today's prices as there must be at least 70+ stamps on just one piece of paper ?
Many fine used Victorian, Edward and George v stamps was sourced from such telegrams with a circular date stamp, unlike the barred numeral cancels used around the Victorian and early Edwardian time.
Here is an Elizabethan equivalent of a telegram sent from London (Swiss Cottage) to the Gambia back in 1963, the amount charged is considerably less than the Victorian version being a modest 9/2d as against the £3 previously charged.
Here are two attachments appertaining to the front and reverse of the telegram >
What is ironic is that the quantity of stamps attached front and rear in total = 79 X ½d which amounts to 3/3½d, this being a lot less than the total amount charged of 9/2d for sending the telegram.
Therefore insufficient stamps have been attached (had they run out of ½d stamps or what ?).
Why this denomination was ever used in the first place is a bit of a mystery !
A most unusual item.
For anyone interested in the development of the TELEGRAM here is a much greater "in-depth" version, relating to Victorian telegrams: the early development of the telegraphic despatch and its interplay with the letter post | Notes and Records: the Royal Society Journal of the History of Science.
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/ ... .2017.0031
Something of interest to read over the Christmas period !
Which now raises the question, does the post office (Royal Mail) still have a useful telegram service in operation today and if so what is the cost and the delivery times available in comparison to what emails are now capable of being used for as a method of instant communication.
I decided to have a look at a recent advertisement displayed on the web regarding telegrams by the Royal mail, and below is a copy of their current charges and delivery times. >
The delivery time seemed very similar to the time it took for the delivering of a letter but the cost was so much greater, and from what I could gather relating to the time factor, sending a letter would serve equally as well at a much lower cost.
It certainly makes me wonder why this service is still available and in use in today's society, what would be the advantages of using such an antiquated service, would it be for contacting someone who is not on the web or who has no telephone ?
Would you use this service ?
And if so, for what purpose.
Post Office and private telegraph stamps, forms, and ephemera.
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