London, Paris, Valparaiso and Sydney, 1837

Eunice Shanahan

These letters graciously have been shared with the Victorian Web by Eunice and Ron Shanahan; they have been taken from their website. The letters give an insight into the daily lives and concerns of 'ordinary' people without whom history would not exist. The letters are a wonderful example of how much history may be gleaned from such sources.

This letter is written in Spanish. It was sent from London to Paris, and has links with Chile in South America and finally Sydney in Australia.

Letter cover

The postal markings are of interest. It has been annotated as being Double only, which has then been crossed out and the sums written are in pence on the left 30 plus 30 equalling 5/- that has been crossed out as well and 20 plus 30 substituted equalling 50 pence, which was four shillings and two pence. This was all in red ink as it was a pre-paid letter, and there is also a 30 on the far right of the envelope, which is part of the cost. The P..D in a circle shows that the postage has been ‘Paid to Destination’ so that the addressee would not have to pay anything on receipt of the letter. The catalogue shows that this was in use from 1839-1856, but this letter is clearly dated 1837. The LONDON date stamp 9 FEB 1837 was applied in black on the back of the letter. This type of postmark was introduced in 1836 and was the first date stamp which actually contained the name of LONDON. On the front, a transit stamp has been applied but only partially struck. It is Calais and the date only shows FEVE (for February) with the year 1837 inverted. There is no stamp to show the arrival date in Paris.

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London, Paris, Valparaiso and Sydney, 1837: the letter.
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Last modified 11 March 2007