Eunice and Ron Shanahan have shared with readers of the Victorian Web this material from their website, Letters from the Past.

The postal markings are very interesting, and the illustration shows three postal marks:

1. a clear, boxed ‘LATE FEE’ date stamp in red. The 'Late Fee' system was in use from 1790 at the Chief Office of the General Post in London. It cost 6d (six pence) and had to be paid when the letter was lodged and only between 7pm and 7.45pm to ensure despatch of the letter in that night's mails. The mail counter closed at 7 pm, but the mails were actually despatched at 8 pm. There were three different postmarks while the system was in effect. First a square frame, then a circular frame and then a square frame again. This square one was used from 1813 until the early 1850s. As they were pre-paid, they were usually applied in red ink. This example showing the date as 2 MA 2 1815 left London that night, and travelled to Aberdeen via Edinburgh.

2. The Scottish Additional Halfpenny tax — stamp applied in London, of the type in use from 1813-1817. This was one of three types used in London, the other two being a framed ½, and an unframed ½ — without the wording ‘Addl’.

3. The transit datestamp applied in red in Edinburgh — this is octagonal with MAR at the top 1815 at the bottom and the day 5 in the centre. The initial M on the right signifies it was a morning duty stamp and the W at the left is the identifying letter for the stamp.There is no arrival stamp for Aberdeen.

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22 December 2004