Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Getting to the rest of Somerset

My posts for the last couple of months have been very Bath-centric, to the exclusion of the rest of Somerset.  Well, while I've been posting my earlier Bath material up here, I've also been writing up all the covers/fronts/entires/wrappers that I've got (but not the postmarks on piece or the commercial cancellations) from the rest of Somerset - to a basic standard as a way of getting them under some semblance of control !

According to my inventory spreadsheet, I've got postmarks from 178 places out of an estimated 533 (33%).  I've got about 390 sheets in 12 binders, plus another 60 sheets of postcards illustrating some of the places in Somerset.  Apart from the letters "Q", "V", "X" and "Z"  I've got material that is going to be useful for most alphabet evenings at my local society.

I'm sure you can see the "stamp collector" coming out here !

I've still got some more Bath to post up - I think I'll continue with that to give a feel for the range that can be associated with a major postal centre.

But just as a brief aside, here's a cover that has me perplexed - why was this Chard Penny Post entire charged 2d ?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Bath misdirected and Returned Letter office

First a cover with a fairly raire "Mis-directed / Bath" cachet, addressed to Bath rather than Bristol:

Then a cover with a Bath Returned Letter office handstamp, having been sent to Wincanton and returned because the addressee was deceased:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bath Station Office and/or Sorting Office

A couple of sheets, one with cancels for Bath Station Office, the other for "BATH S.O" which I am assuming is Bath Sorting Office - is this correct ?  Then, other towns have "R.S.O." - is that Railway Sorting Office ??

This leads on to another question I'm looking for answers to:  what role did the railways play in the Post Office, and how did this change things following the railway mania in the 1840s ? 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bath Circular Date Stamp

A couple of pages of Bath double circle double-arc dated cancels (or CDSs).  Again, as some of the proofs have been lost in the fire in 1954, it is impossible to date the origin of the cancels.  The cancels shown on these two pages all have subtle differences in size or in the lettering of "BATH" or both.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Bath Squared Circle

These examples of the Bath squared circle cancel from April/May 1888 show very worn cancels.  The only cancels in the Proof Books are from April 1881, cancels proofed between November 1887 and April 1908 being lost in a fire in 1954.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bath Large Vertical Duplex

A number of single vertical obliterators (10) were registered from 9th November 1870 to the 27th April 1881 (and perhaps beyond, destroyed by the fire in 1954). The cancels registered from 1870 had no dot after the “53” until in 1874 they gained a dot (“53.”).  In 1881 they reverted to no dot (“53”).  Here's an example of one with a dot (registered between 1874 and 1878) used to cancel a newspaper wrapper in 1880.

This brings up an aspect of the internal working of the Post Office that I don't understand.  This newspaper wrapper originated in Beckington which is only 3 miles from Frome (a Post Town) yet it would appear based on the cancellation of this wrapper that Bath was its Post Town even though Bath is 10½ miles to the north.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Another reference book acquired

I've just managed to get a second-hand copy of "Barred Numeral Cancellations Volume 5 (Oxfordshire to Sussex)" which includes Somerset, so now I understand what all those 3HOS, 3VOS, 3CD and 4VOD descriptions are all about !

For those like me that could guess at some of the code, 3HOS is 3 bar Horizontal Oval Single, 3VOS is 3 bar Vertical Oval Single, 3CD is 3 bar Circular Duplex and 4VOD is 4 bar Vertical Oval Duplex.

Unfortunately this means that I've got to go through all the ones I've written up and check the terminology I've used .... and it also means a whole new list of "wants" now I'm able to know what I'm missing.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Bath Large Horizontal Duplex

I don't know if I'm using the right terminology (another rewrite if I'm not, thank goodness for computers), but from 1870 onwards the numeric obliterators became large (tall) whilst remaining horizontal (so they were readable).

Due to a fire in 1954 the proofs are not available from November 1887 to April 1908, so one cannot know exactly how many examples were registered, but there were 14 registered up to November 1885.  Usage carried on into the 1890s so it is likely that further cancels were produced or recut.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bath Small Horizontal Duplex

Moving along now to the horizontal CDS, horizontal number duplex.  There were 18 different cancels registered from April 1858 to January 1870.  I've got two examples and they both seem to be of the same cancel registered on 12th January 1865.

The bottom cover may well have had a 2d blue added - it does not appear to be tied to the envelope and I cannot think why the postage would have been 3d.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Somthing I've just learnt ....

... that in 1797 the way mail that went via London was charged, was altered.  This was associated with the postal rate rises enacted in the Act of 1796, which was effective from 5th January 1797.

Before 1797, a country letter passing through London had to pay two separate charges.  Entires usually show two rate marks.  The first, representing the charge to London, was generally crossed out and replaced by the total, with a figure often preceeded by "in all". 

From 1797, there was just one charge for the total distance.  The entire may still show two rate marks as old habits took a while to die away.