Local Commemorative & Local Publicity Slogans

The British Post Office established in 1917 the precedent for using slogan dies as an alternative to bars for cancelling stamps mechanically. However, all the slogan dies used in the United Kingdom before 1956 were connected with national campaigns, or advertised important national or international events. Some slogans, such as those publicising the Royal National Eisteddfods, were used only at a small number of offices in the region closely connected with the particular event.

However, since 1956 when Rochdale used a slogan to commemorate the centenary of the granting of a charter of incorporation to that town, the Post Office became more receptive to applications for local slogans. At first it restricted such applications to slogans advertising local events and commemorating local anniversaries.

The Rochdale Centenary slogan is listed in Stanley Gibbons ‘Collect British Postmarks’ catalogued at £8.00.  The highest catalogue price of the period is attached to the Stalybridge Centenary Slogan of 1958, priced at £30.00

Then on 1 April 1963 it introduced the first of the Local Publicity Slogans. Since that date local authorities and the sponsors of local events have made extensive use of postmark slogans as a means of advertising the virtues of a town, or a particular feature, as well as for announcing outstanding local events.

For some years the British practice of having the town mark of machine postmarks to the left of the obliterator was strongly criticised. The Post Office had always insisted that this practice ensured that the place and date of posting appeared legibly on the cover, not on the adhesive. However, following continuing pressure first from philatelic circles, but more particularly from the potential sponsors of Local Publicity slogans, the Post Office relented. On 1 July 1963 Bath used the first transposed slogan.

This was a Local Publicity slogan, but before the end of 1963 Paisley became the first office to use a local interest” General slogan transposed, listed in Collect British Postmarks for just 80 pence.

Specially modified die heads could be fitted to Universal and some ALF machines, enabling slogan dies to be impressed to the left of the town die. In this way the slogan falls on the cover while the town die acts as the obliterator.

For the first few years the Post Office limited the use of these special die heads to slogans in fairly restricted use. However, by 1968, an increasing number of offices were using the special die beads for national slogans as well as local ones, and in 1971 slogans in the standard position were the exception where as before they had been the rule. Subsequently the Post Office reversed its 1963 decision and from 1976 transposed slogans became the exception rather than the rule.

Many thanks to The British Postmark Society for the use of this item. 

The Registered Post

In the 1780’s a system was introduced in the United Kingdom to ensure the safe transit of letter to and from abroad while in the UK.  In 1792 the ‘Money Letter’ system was introduced.  This provided safeguards for letter containing money although no compensation could be claimed.  Money letters were charged at double the normal rate and were endorsed “Money Letter”.  The system was ended on 1st January 1840.

The ending of the money letter system corresponded with complaints of theft and so Registered Post began on 6th January 1841.  However, no compensation was offered until 1878, but each letter was endorsed with ‘Registered’ and a number and was sent with a green way-bill giving details along with a receipt form to be completed by the addressee.

It was obviously more convenient for Post Offices to have handstamps for Registered letters.  An early example was in use in Chester in 1842.

Registered Handstamp used in Chester in 1842

The Post Office name was shown in this example from Edinburgh and was used into the 1850’s.

Used in Edinburgh during the 1850’s

In March 1848 the 1 shilling registration fee was reduced to 6d.  The Post Office in Burnley, Lancashire produced  a rectangular with ‘Registered’ and its office name incorporated.  During the 1850’s a number of provincial Post Offices produced varieties of framed stamps with the word ‘Registered’ and unframed stamps also started to come into use.

There were also a small number of special types and Liverpool produced a variant of the Duplex Spoon cancellation which was in use between 1857-58.

Liverpool 446 Spoon Registered Cancellation

Glasgow used a double arc type cancellation from 1858 into the early 1860’s.

Glasgow Double Arc Cancellation

By the late 1850’s time dated stamps for registered letters had begun to appear.  At the London Chief Office an unframed oval dated type came into use during 1856.  This was replaced the following year by a smaller single arc type.

1857 Smaller Size London Cancellation

In 1858 the dated type in an oval frame appeared which became the standard type which was in use until the switch over to printed labels.  The images below show types used at the time in Glasgow and Dublin

Glasgow Oval Frame
Dublin Open Frame

On letter sent from foreign locations the Crown registered mark remained in use at the London Chief Office until the late 1860’s.

From August 1862 it was made compulsory for inland letters containing coins to be registered.

Edinburgh Coin Registered Cancellation

In the late 1870’s Glasgow suffered from a considerable amount of non-delivery of important letters.  The solution was to charge an extra ½d for a report of delivery to the sender.  The stamps below we used during the early 1880’s when the scheme was in operation

During the 1880’s the use of single circle date stamps became far more common and large provincial offices started using them as cancellations.  However a number of the earlier undated types still survived including this example from Cork.

Undated Cork Registered Cancellation

The Dublin Office used an octagonal stamp from the 1870’s until the 1920’s.

Dublin Octagonal Cancellation

The use of double circle dated cancellations were widespread in Scotland which lead to the introduction of the type in the 1890’s.  The type was in use will into the 20th Century.

Scottish Double Circle Type

In the late 19th Century Hooded Circle types were also tried for registered letters.

London Hooded Circle Type