Pre-GPU Late Fee Mail To and Through France
IntroductionRowland Hill was already well known following the introduction of the penny black. This display illustrates the changes he made to the Late Fee System. There is evidence in the Post Office archives that late fees were in use as early as 4th May 1797. This was for use on inland letters only and there was a cancelling stamp for use on mail posted after 7 p.m. at a late fee window available at St Martins le Grand. In 1840 the system for foreign mail was revised. Payment had always been made in cash, often with no record on the letter and this was considered a direct cash benefit by many postmasters. Rowland Hill, then Secretary to the Postmaster General pressed for standardisation of the procedure for paying late letter fees.
Thus from 1st March 1849 all late fees had to be paid in stamps. However it was not compulsory to use stamps to pay overseas postage until Britain joined the General Postal Union in 1875. The items here concentrate on mail "To and through France" up to the uniformity of rates when the G.P.U. was created.
The main sources of information are:
British Letter Mail to overseas Destinations, J & M Moubray.
Postmarks of England & Wales, James Mackay.
United Kingdom Letter Rates 1635-1900, Colin Tabeart.
G.B. Specialised Catalogue, Stanley Gibbons
Times History of Europe, Times Books.
Admiralty Mediterranean Steam Packets, Colin Tabeart.
The 1836 Anglo-French Postal Agreement, Geoffrey Lewis
British Postal Rates to Europe, G. F. Oxley