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 Post subject: Mileage from Bristol to London
PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:00 pm
Posts: 35
Did the official Post Office mileage from Bristol to London reduce from 122 (as in Bristol handstamps with mileage, used until 1827) to 120 miles or less by September 1838 ?

I have an entire dated 25th September 1838 from Bristol to London that appears to have been charged 9d - so I was wondering if the official mileage changed ? It's either that or I've misinterpreted the squiggle on the front :-)

Is there a reference I should consult ?


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 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 2099
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:00 pm
Posts: 202
Hi Ieamphil and all,

As no one else has offered any suggestions, here are ours :
Our reference is Alan Robertson's Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and
Postal rates 1635-1840 and this shows the mileage for Bristol as 122, and
the two letters we have are dated 1822 and 1825 both showing that figure.
However, the charging rate 1812-1839 is 80-120 for 9d and 120-170 for 10d.
So, strictly speaking, if the distance the letter had to travel was actually
122 miles it would have been charged 10d.

However, of our two letters one is going from Bristol to Highworth, and is
charged 8d (it is marked Via Oxford Mail) and the other is Bristol to
Exeter and is charged 9d.

We have read recently that the mileage marks are not reliable guides to the
charge on letters, and the disclaimer on page 31 of Robertson's book quotes
...thereafter as new roads were built and new routes were established some
of the official distances were ammended (sic) periodically when later
surveys were made. As a result the mileages of Cary's Survey occasionally
differ from later measurements. The margin of difference however is usually
small and does not materially affect the total distances on which postal
rates were based up to 1839."

So we hope this helps, and maybe other members may have something to add or to refute this.

Eunice and Ron Shanahan

 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 2100
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:00 pm
Posts: 104
The only thing I can suggest is that from round about the start of 1838, the mileage was charged on the basis of the shortest distance by public road, not (as before) on the distance actually conveyed by the Post Office routing which could be quite a bit longer.

So it's quite possible that this resulted in a Bristol-London charged distance which was a few miles shorter, and therefore fell into the lower price band?

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