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 Post subject: 18th & early 19th Century Mail with "Speed" or "With Speed"
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:00 pm 
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Can anyone explain the manuscript entries (usually at bottom left of front panel on mails) "Speed" and "With Speed"?
The implication is that the item is to be delivered post-haste yet the postal charges I've seen do not reflect other than standard delivery services. It may be simply that the recipient is being urged not to delay in opening the mail.
Any thoughts will be most welcome.


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 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 1999
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:05 pm 
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Early letters were frequently delayed in the post and postmarks, intoduced in 1661, were specifically designed to prevent this happening although they were only applied in London at first. The first marks were circular and only included only the day and the month.

'Poste Haste' ot just 'Haste' were often used on letters as well however the message was intended for the postman not the recipient.


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 Post subject: Re: 18th & early 19th Century Mail with "Speed" or "With Speed"
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:32 pm 
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agenteinrebus wrote:
Can anyone explain the manuscript entries (usually at bottom left of front panel on mails) "Speed" and "With Speed"?
The implication is that the item is to be delivered post-haste yet the postal charges I've seen do not reflect other than standard delivery services. It may be simply that the recipient is being urged not to delay in opening the mail.
Any thoughts will be most welcome.

Late answer, I'm afraid: as railwaynut says, this was a message intended for the post office, to say that the letter needed to get there as quickly as possible and urging them to get it moving through the post without delay.

I suppose a postal official might occasionally have made an extra effort out of the goodness of their heart to make sure it went in the bag, but otherwise, absent the payment of any extra fees for express delivery or suchlike, the endorsement was most unlikely to have had any practical effect whatsoever!


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 Post subject: Re: 18th & early 19th Century Mail with "Speed" or "With Speed"
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:53 pm 
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To quote Sir Walter Scott :-


“There was then a custom, not yet wholly obsolete, of causing a letter from one town to another, perhaps within the distance of thirty miles, perform a circuit of two hundred miles before delivery, which had the combined advantage of airing the epistle thoroughly, of adding some pence to the revenue of the Post Office, and of exercising the patience of the correspondents.”


If my memory serves me right, that passage is to be found in Guy Mannering or The Antiquary

I must say however, that Late Eighteenth, and Early Nineteenth century covers that I have do on the whole show remarkably prompt delivery - better than present day in many cases. Even earlier, the phrase "For thy life, for thy life" used to be added.

Perhaps we should re-introduce the habit for present-day correspondence ;)


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