Sunday, 29 December 2019

G.W.R. Memorandum, 1932

This GWR memo dated 23rd December 1932 is of some postal history interest as it details changes to postal addresses in Somerset and Devon (for example Allerford moves from being under Taunton to being under Minehead).  Here is the memorandum, with a red "STATION MASTER'S OFFICE / TAUNTON" handstamp.


And here are the contents showing the movements of offices.


Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Taunton Station, Great Western Railway, 1922-1927

Happy Christmas !

Here are a few GWR memos received at Taunton Railway Station with "TAUNTON STATION . GREAT WESTERN RLY" single ring receiving handstamps.




Sunday, 22 December 2019

Somerset Sub-Office Numbers


The list below is of sub-office numbers for Post Offices in Somerset, as used to appear on Registration Etiquettes. Any additions gratefully received  !

Note that companies and other organisations who posted over 2000 registered items per year were allowed to have their own roll of labels with a number, allocated by the Post Office, which was special to them. These 'private users' are identified in the lists with a tilde ⁓ in front of the name. The numbers were usually higher than those allocated to sub post offices.

Main Office
No.
Sub-Office
BATH

1
2
3
4
5
6
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
31
32
33
34
39
43
High St.
Charles St.
Widcombe Parade
Lower Weston
Southgate St.
Holloway
St. Andrews
Lansdown Road
Whiteway
Bathwick St.
East Twerton
Bathwick Hill
Grosvenor
Weston
Moorfields
Cleveland Place
Westmoreland
Locksbrook
Twerton-on-Avon
Claremont
South Twerton
Larkhall
Yomede Park
Bath Canine Show Mobile P.O. 1970
Southdown
Klngsway
H.O. Registered letters ‘posted out of course‘
Swainswick
Bartlett St.
~ Bath and Bathavon Joint Food Office
Odd Down
Beacon Hill
Bathampton
~ Postal History Exhibition 5th Bath Assembly, May 1952
BRIDGWATER
1
2
3
4
5
6
8
9
13
Monmouth St.
North St.
Tauton Road
Wembdon
The Docks
Bath Road
Hamp
Willoughby Road
Bridgwater Agricultural Show Mobile P.O. 1961, 1966
BURNHAM-ON-SEA
1
3
Abington St.
Berrow
CHARD
1
Victoria Avenue
CLEVEDON
1
2
3
The Triangle
Walton St. Mary
East Clevedon
COMBE DOWN
1
Midford Road
FROME
1
3
6
7
Badcox
Keyford
Cottles Oak
Frome Agricultural Show Mobile P.O. 1956, 1958
GLASTONBURY
2
Windmill Hill
MARTOCK
1
Bower Hinton
MIDSOMER NORTON
1
Stones Cross
MINEHEAD
1
2
Avenue
Alcombe
RADSTOCK
2
3
Westfield
Haydon
SHEPTON MALLET
1
2
4

5
6

7
Kilver St.
Mid-Somerset Agricultural Show Mobile P.O. 1952, 1954
Bath & West Show M obile P.O. 1969 &
Mid-Somerset Agricultural Show Mobile P.O. 1970
Bath & West Show Mobile P.O. 1967
Mid-Somerset Agricultural Show MPO 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962 &
Bath & West Show Mobile P.O. 1865, 1968
Mid-Somerset Agricultural Show Mobile P.O. 1964
STREET
1
Middle Leigh
TAUNTON
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
12
13
14
Rowbarton
East Reach
Hamilton Road
Shuttern
Station Road
Cheddon Road
Internal use, H.O.
Internal use, H.O.
Galmington, formerly Musgrove
Bishop's Hull
Staplegrove
Holway Road
WELLINGTON (Somerset)
1
Station Road
WESTON-SUPER-MARE
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
14
15
Claremont
Severn Road
Oxford St.
The Boulevard
Baker St.
Church Road
Locking Road
Ashcombe Park
Moorland Road
West Moorland
Drove Road
Milton Road
Milton
YEOVIL
1
3
5
6
7
8
9
Middle St.
Pen Mill
Goldcroft
Glenville Road
Preston Plucknett
West Coker Road
Westfield Road


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Wells Penny Post boxed "No.11" going to London in 1842

The envelope below is going via Wells to London in February 1842, bears a reddish boxed “No.11” receiving house handstamp in addition to the Maltese Cross cancel and a “WELLS SOMERSET” circular cancel dated 14th February 1842.


Where was the boxed “No.11” handstamp used ?
  • No boxed “No.11” is recorded for Wells.
  • The boxed “No.11” in the Bristol Penny Post was in use at Bedminster. Post from there to London would not go via Wells.
  • A boxed “No.11” is recorded in the Bath Penny Post; this is thought to have been used at Doynton in Gloucestershire. Again, post from there to London would not go via Wells.
  • A boxed “No.11” is known used in the Cross Penny Post, probably at Hutton.
  • No boxed “No.11” is recorded used in the Bridgwater Penny Post, only an unboxed “No.11” used at Burrowbridge in 1839. As boxed handstamps pre-dated unboxed ones, it is unlikely that a boxed “No.11” was in use there in 1842.
  • A boxed “No.11” was in use at Creech St Michael in the Taunton Penny Post. As Creech St Michael is under 4 miles east of Taunton, mail from there would almost certainly go via Taunton. The handstamp used at Creech St Michael also has larger serifs than the minimal ones visible above.
The most likely candidate would therefore appear to be the boxed “No.11” used in the Cross Penny Post, probably at Hutton.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Undated "YEOVIL" handstamp, c.1759-1769.


Acquired off the internet, the undated entire below has gone from Yeovil via Taunton and Bristol to Oxford via the cross post. The mileage is over 80 miles so would have been charged 4d, the rate for over 80 miles from 1711 to 1784.
Undated entire from Yeovil to Garsington near Oxford, with mansucript “X post” and stylised “4” for postage.

On the reverse a “YEOVIL” straight line handstamp (34½ x 7½ mm), a “TAUNTON” straight line handstamp
(41x7 mm, SO 751, in use 1759-1769) and a “B / RIS / TOL” handstamp (18x17 mm, BS 18, in use 1747-1772).

Based on the known dates for the Taunton handstamp, the entire is dated from between 1759 and 1769. This could match the date for the “YEOVIL” handstamp, SO 1042, known used in 1766, though the measurements are not precisely the same – the handstamp measures 34½x7½ mm, while SO 1042 is in the British County Catalogue as 35x8 mm. However the compilers of the BCC did not have the benefit of computers and scanners to be able to precisely measure their handstamps.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Wincanton late use of SO 993 cancel in 1845

The entire below is from Wincanton to an Insurance Office in Exeter.  It has an SO 993 cancel dated 31st March 1845, a later than previously recorded.

Some certificates were enclosed, hence the prepaid 2d in red.
[This item courtesy of a fellow member of the Somerset & Dorset Postal History Group.]

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Latest UDC in Somerset ? ... at Churchill in 1861

Is this the latest UDC usage in Somerset – a “CHURCHILL” udc in blue used on 17th June 1861 ?



The stamping of letters at all offices using undated handstamps should have ceased after the issue of an Instruction To Postmasters dated 17th March 1860, so this should be treated as abnormal usage.

Other abnormal-use examples of the “CHURCHILL” udc are known on 14th June 1861 and on 19th December 1860 (seen on eBay).

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Bath Delivery Office, 2019

Here is an undated "Bath Delivery Office" soft packet cancel - it arrived between 13th and 17th October 2019.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Portishead and Highbridge

First a double circle double-arc "PORTISHEAD / BRISTOL" cancel from 1936, although the circles are not clear.  The envelope was addressed to "The Hospital, Amsterdam" but the addressee was not found so it was returned to Portishead.

Next a Field Post Office registered envelope to Portishead with a "PORTISHEAD / BRISTOL" single ring receiving mark from 1946.  The sender was in Schleswig Holstein.

And finally a BT Maritime Radiotelex envelope from Portishead Radio, Highbridge, with a "HIGHBRIDGE / SOMERSET" meter mark from 1989.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Wellington Money Order & Savings Bank

The postcard below has a "WELLINGTON.SOM / M.O & S.B." single ring cancel dated 28th March 1906.

The picture side of the postcard depicts a horse with an extremely long tail and mane - hair extensions ??

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: LQMs with error codes

LQMs were also used to flag errors - 'M' for Misread of the indicia ...

... plus 'U' for underpaid ...

... or 'S' for a missort.



Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: LQMs continued

Some non-meter mail also received an LQM.

LQMs were also misapplied to the front of mail, and some mail received multipls LQMs.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: Linear Quality Marks

Linear Quality marks (LQMs) were applied on the back of meter franked mail processed by an IMP, until 2008 when they were discontinued.  This first sheet gives an overview of the different formats.

LQMs could be at the bottom or top of the arrow ...

... or with the string above the date rather than after it ...

... and in 1996 changed format from having the date in letters to being in numerals.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: Address Interpretation

In 1997 a project was initiated to improve the 'read' quality of the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of postcodes in the addresses.  Following initial trials in late 2001 the new technology was trialled in production in Greenford in 2002 and then rolled out nationwide.

Mail items processed using AI technology were identified with an "A" prefix in the Letter Quality Mark (info coming soon on a blog near you !) or in the address/date block.

The "A" prefix was dropped in 2008 at the same time as the implementation of PostJet printers.

In 2001, along with the introduction of Royal Mail’s Address Interpretation (AI) system, video images from all Mail Centres of mail items with unreadable addresses are fed to one of four special handling centres for manual coding.  The four Manual Data Entry Centres (MDECs) are based at Doxford (Sunderland), Plymouth, Stockport and Stoke, and were each equipped with about 400 workstations, though with improved technology the staff at the MDECs has been reducing.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: Redrawn Slogans and different format Date Blocks

In order to rectify the truncated slogans, slogans that were repeated were redrawn as shown in the "MOVING HOME ?" examples below.

The Bristol IMPs continued to use different format date blocks - IMPs 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8 used a 6-line "T" under  "B" format, IMPs 4 and 6 used a 6-line "Taunton" centred format, and IMP2 used a 4-line "Bristol" block.


In November 2009 the IMPs standardised on one format, the 6-line "Taunton" centred form.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: Truncated Slogans

All of the IMPs started using the 6-line "Royal Mail / Bath Bristol / Taunton" date block apart from IMP 2 which used a "Bristol" 4-line block between May and November 2009.

Use of the 6-line date block caused some slogans to be truncated.

In the sheet below one can see three different formats of the date block:  two different 6-line blocks with "T" under "B" and with "Taunton" centred, and a 4-line block.  The slogan is OK on the 4-line "Bristol" block but is truncated on the top two.

Again the slogan is OK on the bottom 4-line "Bristol" block but truncated on the top two 6-line blocks.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Bristol IMPs: PostJet and Cueprint slogans

As the cutover of IMPs from Cueprint to PostJet printers continued, slogan cancels in two different formats were being used.  This first slogan was initially produced as "AIR DISPLAY / STAMPS ON SALE" rather than "AIR DISPLAYS / STAMPS ON SALE" but was corrected after a few days.  The top two covers below show the Cueprint slogans with 8 wavy lines, while the bottom is the PostJet slogan with 6 wavy lines.

The "Nominate your / hero" appears in a 3-line format on the Cueprint IMPs and a 2-line format on the PostJet ones.

"MOVING / HOME ?" also appears on the Cueprint printers.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Bristol IMPs: Introduction of PostJet printers in 2008

After trials in Leeds, IMPs nationwide were converted from Cueprint printers to use Postjet printers between April and October 2008.

Not all the IMPs were changed at the same time.  Bristol implementation started with IMP 3 in May 2008, followed by IMPs 1, 4 and 5, then IMPs 6, 7 and 8.  IMP 2 continued to use the original Cueprint printers into September 2008.

Initial implementation used a "Bristol" 4-line date block (no "Royal Mail") ...

... before cutting over to a "Royal Mail / Bath Bristol / Taunton" 6-line date block, with the "T" of "Taunton" under the "B" of "Bath".

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Bristol IMPs: Test Images

A couple of different test images have been used on the IMPs - these probably should not have been used on live mail.  The first, shorter one, is titled "IMP / PREFLIGHT / Test Image / First Printer" and appears on the back of envelopes.

The second, longer one, is titled "IMP / PREFLIGHT / Test Image / Second Printer" and appears on the front of envelopes.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Bristol IMPs: Reduced Form cancels

In September 1997 it was found that on small envelopes the ink used for the postmark (which is printed a fixed distance from the top of an envelope) was interfering with the phosphor reaction of the ink used for the tagcode (which is printed a fixed distance from the bottom of the envelope).

To overcome this problem a Reduced Form of postmark was introduced for envelopes less than 106mm in height.

This first sheet is for "Bristol" ...

... followed by "Bath Bristol" ...

... and "Bath Bristol    Taunton".  The format for this form of cancel varied, the ones below from 1999 & 2000 had a narrow gap between "Royal Mail" and "Bath" ...

... while these from 2002 had a wider gap.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Bristol IMPs continued

At any one time not all the Filton IMPs used the same cancel.  One can identify which IMP a particular cancel came from by looking at the first digit of the 8-digit code at the bottom of the date block.

Between April and July 1998 a "Royal Mail / Bath / Bristol" cancel was in use (IMPs 5 & 2 shown) ...

... and from January 1998 a "Royal Mail / Bath Bristol / Taunton" cancel was being used (IMP 3).

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Bristol and Somerset: Integrated Mail Processors at Filton

The following series of posts have examples of the crossover between Somerset and Bristol ...

From 13th October 1980 second class mail from Taunton was being sent to Bristol to be sorted.  In 1996 eight "Integrated Mail Processors" (IMPs) were installed in Bristol's new mail centre at Filton, going live from May 1997.

The initial cancels were for "BRISTOL" or "Bristol", followed by "Bath / Bristol" (April-July 1998) and "Bath Bristol / Taunton" (from January 1998).

In July 1997 as one of the IMPs was being introduced, it ran for a few days with "Royal Mail / office_line_1" in error.

Here are examples of the "Royal Mail / Bristol" cancels ...


... and here are examples of the "Royal Mail / BRISTOL" cancels.