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 gives the impression of a happily confident woman writing to an equal partner.
There are five postal markings on the letter:
- a black circular mileage stamp GATEHOUSE 374. (This is Gatehouse in Fleet). The stamp is black with a boxed mileage figure of 374 and some faint illegible marking under the box which could be a letter D. Mail from Gatehouse went to London via Dumfries — but it could also be a figure 10 or 6. The 374 of course, signified the distance in miles from London for the charging rate.
- a black manuscript 1/1½ to show the charging rate of 13d or 1shilling one penny — for a distance between 300 and 400 miles from London — plus the Additional Halfpenny, Scottish mail tax.
- the boxed Aditional ½d stamp applied in London.(Hodgson & Sedgwick type 133d). This additional ½d tax was paid on all letters to and from Scotland which were carried on a toll road in a carriage with more than two wheels. The money from this tax was to help offset the costs incurred by the Post Office on tolls payable on toll roads in Scotland (with some exemptions), and was in force from June 9, 1813 until the introduction of the Uniform Fourpenny Post on December 5, 1839. The mail was exempt from toll charges on English roads.
- the red London morning duty single frame datestamp 26 MY 1814. This had the code letter D at the top, and has the day before and after the month, showing that it was a morning duty stamp in use from 1810-1841.
- a red oval date stamp 10 o'Clock My 26 1814 F.Nn of the Chief Office of the London Twopenny Post, as the letter would have been transferred to that office for delivery. There should also I think be some indication of the 2d post charge on the letter.
The Chief Office in St Martins-le-Grand date stamps at this time always had the month before the day, whereas the Westminster Office had the month after the day.
This stamp also bears the time 10 o'clock F.Nn., and Mr Craig wrote a note on the letter " My wife, Recd 26 May" so he would probably have received it in the afternoon. They had six deliveries a day in the Town area of the Twopenny post at that time.
31 January, 2008