A Brief look


The world's first postage stamp used on a letter to Bracknell. The "Penny Black " was introduced on 6th May 1840. The uniform penny postal rates came into effect in Jan 1840. The worlds' first stamps where issued in May to prepay the one penny rate service. A new "canceller was introduced called a "Maltese Cross", This was used to obliterate the stamp so it could not be reused.  A good example of this cancel is on the second cover. This cover was posted from Bracknell.

The Maltese Cross cancels where first used with Black ink. But was later changed to red ink so it could be seen doing it's job better on the Black stamps! The stamps later changed to a red colour ("Penny Red") and the Post Office changed back to using black ink again. Letters where back stamped with a POSTMARK showing the date they where posted. The Maltese Cross was used only to mark the stamp so it could not be reused. (cancelled or obliterated)

From 1844 a new canceller was introduced which had the town recorded by a number in the canceller. Towns all over the land where given their own numbers. Bracknell had the number "105". The letters where STILL Backstamped with a dated Postmark. 

The letter below shows the "105" postmarks on a letter to India. The black border indicates that the letter is a mourning letter. Someone has died.
All the mail had to be cancelled on the front and STILL backstamped with a dated postmark This was very time consuming. So in 1853 handstamps started to appear which combined both these tasks. The first duplex postmark of Bracknell is shown opposite.  The number is still 105 on the canceller part but the dated postmark is applied in the same operation. Bracknell aquired this postmarking system about 1866. There where many small changes to this postmark over the years. The later one below left shows three lines at the top and bottom of the 105.

Letters where on occasion still being backstamped as well.  Shown here are one of the postmarks being used still. It appeared along with other types using different coloured inks over time. the letter at the top indicated a time period in code that the letter was posted. After some time this was changed to showing the actual time.

A rubber handtsamp was sometimes pushed into use during emergencies. the date and time slugs where as the normal postmark. I have found many of this postmark used  on Edwardian  postcards. About 1880 the "squared Circle" style postmark appeared in Bracknell. As before the time is coded by a letter. "E" in this case. This again was changed to show the actual time later on.


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 Copyright F.MARDLE 1999. 2000. 2001. 2002  All rights reserved. Published by Collectnews