Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Bath - Brewing

A switch to a brewing theme - this first envelope from Smith Bros & Co. Ltd. has a Bath Krag cancel from 1915.

This earlier but less pretty envelope, used in April 1855, has the seal of the Northgate Brewery on the reverse.

And finally a couple of pieces of brewing ephemera ...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Bath - Hotels

The first hotel is the Grand Pump Room Hotel, with examples of their envelopes from 1893 and 1897.

York House Hotel was previously a Coaching Inn (more on this later).  This envelope is from 1898.

The Empire Hotel (postcard sent in 1910) was described as a "monstrosity and an unbelievable piece of pompous architecture" by Pevsner.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Bath Miscellany - Trams, Advertising, Pump Rooms, Sanitation

The next series of posts are going to be yet more "Bath", but this time of a more miscellaneous or ephemeral nature - starting with a comic postcard dated 1st January 1904 predicting the outcome of the first electric tram service in Bath, which started on 2nd January 1904.

This next sheet has two illustrated envelopes with sepia-toned images of the Spa and the river, from 1937 and 1956 respectively.  The bottom envelope has a nice "TO PAY / POSTED / UNPAID" cachet.

Then a piece of ephemera showing the price list for the Bath Pump Rooms, from July 1842.

This next entire is from the City of Bath Urban Sanitary Authority, from October 1893, with a nice Bath squared circle cancel.

This is the contents of the entire, requiring that the drains be fixed.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

"Mis-directed / Bath"

Here are two examples of the "Mis-directed / Bath" handstamp, the first from June 1861.

The second example is from July 1879, nine years later than previously recorded.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


Here are examples of three different Missent to Bath handstamps, starting with a framed "MISSENT TO BATH" handstamp from March 1820, known in use from 1813 to 1825.

The next cover has a blue "Missent to / Bath" handstamp from August 1852, known in use from 1849 to 1852 in blue.

The final cover has a blue "Mis-sent / to / Bath" handstamp from July 1857, known in use from 1857 to 1860 in blue.

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Here are two examples of a framed "RETURN'D / FROM BATH" handstamp, both from 1815.  The handstamp is known in use from 1814 to 1822.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Early Bath manuscript marks

This set of three entires all have manuscript marks, starting with this first entire from 1787 which has a manuscript "Missent to Bath" in (faded) red.  The entire is addressed to Bute in Scotland and went to Bath instead.

This next entire from 1800 has a black manuscript "Missent" and a faded red "Retn from Bath" as it was redirected to Harrogate.  Mail to Bath often had to be redirected as people coming to take the waters moved on, in this case to another spa town.

This entire from 1807 has a red manuscript "Retd from Bath" as it was redirected back to London.  It was charged 1/4d, twice the 8d charge for London to Bath.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Registration Receipts, Parcel Post and Express Mail

Post Offices issued receipts to the senders of Registered Letters - here are two examples, from 1854 and 1857, the first on white paper, the second on blue.

Parcels could be registered from June 1891.  Here is a Parcel Post label from Bath in the KEVII period.

There were different levels of  'Express' service, the most common being where the mail was sent in the ordinary post to the nearest Express Delivery Office, and were then sent out by special messenger.  This example from August 1922 was to Huntly's Beach Hotel, Weston-super-Mare - the postcard at the bottom shows the location of the Hotel.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Bath - Swainswick, Timsbury & Larkhall Registered Covers

Three registered covers from Offices under Bath, starting with one from Swainswick to London in February 1912, with a blank registration etiquette with a violet "SHAPWICK / BATH" Climax rubber handstamp.

The second covers are from Timsbury to Glastonbury with "TIMSBURY" registration etiquettes from April & May 1917 (concerning the purchase of casks of cider).

The last cover is from Larkhall, Bath to Los Angeles in January 1923, with a generic "BATH" registration etiquette with manuscript "23" for the Larkhall branch number.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Bath Registered (3)

Finally in this series of posts of Registered letters from Bath, here is a Registered Printed Matter cover to Switzerland from November 1894.

A postal stationery envelope with a 2½d embossed stamp for postage plus 2d Registration Fee, to Argentine Republic dated January 1895.

This cover dated July 1896 was to Portugal, franked 2½d postage plus 2d Registration Fee.

And finally one to Leamington [Spa] dated December 1895, franked 1d postage plus 2d Registration Fee.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Bath Registered (2)

The next posts have Registered covers from Bath to foreign destinations, starting with a Registered Envelope to Sweden in April 1883, franked 2½d postage plus 2d Registration Fee.

This cover from May 1889 is to USA. franked 5d postage plus 2d Registration Fee.

And a cover from October 1891 to Germany, franked 2½d postage plus 2d Registration Fee.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Bath Registered (1)

A few posts of Registered covers from Bath, starting with an early one from February 1843.  Registration had been introduced in January 1841 (although 'Money Letters' received secure handling from c. 1792).  Up until 27th March 1848 the Registration Fee was 1/-, which had to be paid in cash.

This next example is from September 1856, by when the Registration Fee was 6d.  Up until 31st May 1850 it still had to be paid in cash, thereafter Postmasters were instructed to affix stamps.

This third example is from September 1878 and was undelivered -  manuscript "Gone no address" on the front - and manuscript "notice to quit" on the back !

The last example in this post is from November 1883, and is an OHMS envelope to Jersey with three "I.R. / OFFICIAL" 1d lilac stamps to pay the 2d Registration Fee and the 1d postage.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Bath - "To be left at the Post Office"

A trio of covers, all to be left at the Post Office.  This first one is from London in June 1717.

The second is from Birmingham in October 1826.

And finally another from London, in June 1853.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alfred Smith & Son, now in London

This next cover is again from the transition period when the company is using up old postal stationery, with Bath crossed out and replaced with London.  It was used in April 1897.

Having moved to London, the stationery with the vignette of the Bath office fell out of use.  This eample is from March 1899.

The Company traded less and less in the 20th century, with the 'Monthly Circular' stopping in 1923.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Alfred Smith & Co., Foreign Stamp Importers (3)

From 1892 to 1897 Alfred Smith & Co. were using envelopes with a coloured vignette of their office in Bath, starting with a vignette in red.  These two are from September and November 1893.

The next colour was green, though the top one is either olive green or grey.  The top cover is from April 1894 and the bottom one from March 1895.  The company is now Alfred Smith & Son.

These next two covers are both dated 24th April 1896.

The next cover is from March 1896 and Alfred Smith & Son are now Dealers in Postage Stamps for Collections, and have the Alfred Smith & Son's Monthly Circular.  The bottom cover from January 1897 shows the move of the premises to London.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Alfred Smith & Co., Foreign Stamp Importers (2)

Continuing with Alfred Smith of Bath, here are some more envelopes with embossed stamps.  These have red printing on the envelopes rather than green, and are embossed with different values.

Alfred Smith did not always use embossed stamps - this front below from an envelope to USA has an "Alfred Smith & Co., Bath" label with a scattering of eleven halfpenny stamps, dated October 1893.