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 primary sources.

But what is the answer? Click on the boxes below for more information

General Information

Penny Posts, local posts, poverty (Mrs Belcher's plea for help), agricultural labourers etc.

Free postage

Check this to find out who could send their letters 'free' — and the postmarks by which they can be identified.


Although this is basically for Victorian times, much of it is also applicable for the previous decades.

Relative costs

Further information on prices other than postage.

How much?

The postage rates from 1805-1839, with images of letters showing the amounts charged.

Who paid?

explanations as to who paid and why, with examples

Burrell letter

[Click on the imthumbnailage for a larger image]

Many of the letters in our collection are unpaid. Those that have been pre-paid usually have a note to that effect on the front address panel, by the writer of the letter. This letter of 1717 is such an example: for the contents of this letter click here

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3 December 2002