Isle of Wight Postcard Club

Isle of Wight Postal History 1759 - 1850 including Maritime Mail
by Mr. John Minns, President of the Isle of Wight Philatelic Society.

Henry Bishop became the first Post Master in 1660, with a special first, hand stamp in the country. It consisted of the month and date. It was known as the 'Bishop Mark' and used for over a hundred years.
Trade from North America occasioned a hand stamp and example shown of 1664, between Oxford and London.
Local post showed a triangle Peny Payd between 1693 - 1700 the town was stamped then. The Isle of Wight had its first mark in 1720. Newport was marked in 1759. In 1762 Newport and Isle of Wight appeared together then a two line cancel, with the letter N. Ryde area had R in front, in 1783. After which mileage marks were introduced. The recipient paying the postage and not the sender. The distance calculated between Ryde to London in 1789 was calculated as ninety miles.
Popular trading between North America and the West Indies began and the Captain of the ship or Agent arranged to post all mail when he reached London. The Captain was paid for the service, one penny. The main ports were London, Liverpool and Bristol, then Portsmouth.
Cowes being accessible, was a major port for these letters in 1759 and later were known as Cowes Ship Letters, and had a special hand stamp, at the Ship Letter Rating Office. Ship letter on the top and port at the base.Cowes was the only place in the Isle of Wight to receive this mark.
Letters from India, then the 'Jewel in the British Empire' examples were shown of 1825, via Cape Town, postage 8d to 4d from India. Cowes Mail had large letters and Ryde smaller letters. 1825 Mail from Singapore. The Postal Administration from India to London, composed of a Cracked Cross postmark.
The final phase from 1840, saw the introduction of new inventions i.e. the Steam Boat Packet Service to Southampton thence by rail to London. The only known marks left from South America to Cowes were in the late 1840's, examples displayed.
The Universal Postal Union was in force and gradually the Boarding Agents in Cowes, were dissolved.
Robert Hunter would collect mail from ships anchored off Cowes. Which had   taken on supplies from the town. He would accept all mail and forward it. This became a very lucrative business.
William Stuart Day also set us this facility and rushed to get the mail before Hunter arrived.
1833 saw pre-printed letters. Letters with unbroken seals were displayed.
Joseph Rodney Crossly became a partner with Day and Ross, eventually Day fell out with the others. In 1849 a new partnership was formed. This service ran for forty years.
In the 1820's - 1840's, mail for the Island was delivered at Lymington, which was considerably quicker than passing through all the toll gates between Yarmouth and Newport.
Mileage Marks were rather consistent between London and Cowes and varied from eighty to one hundred and five miles. The advent of the Penny Post in 1840, saw the black stamp, 6th May known as a label. The 1835 postal marking is now very rare, from Newport. A Ryde mark of 1838 was also shown.
William Herd was Town Clerk of the time.
Roland Hill was associated with this era.
The Mulready Envelopes were not very popular and were discontinued after a while.
2d Blue Labels were in evidence and the folded letter, which was sealed. There was also a red/black penny stamp.
The areas of the Island were numbered one to five. Ryde, Seaview, St Helens, Bembridge and Brading.
Mail from Osborne House was displayed. A letter to the Foreign Secretary from Prince Leopard was displayed.
After the decease of Prince Albert on December 14th 1861, the Queen used Mourning Paper with a thick black edge.
The Queen encouraged members of the Royal Household to affix stamps. The mail was collected from Osborne, by mail cart to East Cowes thence to London, or taken via Ryde to London. There was a post office sorting carriage on the train, so mail was sorted before the train reached its destination. It was marked by a star. On display there was a letter written by Queen Victoria, to the Duke of Argyll, her son in law, with the Royal Crest. In 1898 at Osborne and Balmoral, there was a Court Post Master. Examples were shown from, Osborne, Balmoral and from the Royal Household.

The speaker was thanked by Mr John Woodford. Questions were answered. An appreciative audience applauded. It was a pure delight to see this comprehensive display and rare items, from years of collecting.

All mainland dealers wishing to attend, please contact Lyn Archer.
Why not have a short holiday on the island? We may be able to arrange the hotel etc.

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