“ Letters from the Past Edinburgh Penny Post letter
To Tho. Ker Esq. WS from Robert Rollo 1830”
The letter has three postal markings, first an unframed two-line India Street in black ink. This was one of the receiving houses of the Edinburgh Penny Post. There was no address for Mr Ker, but as a Writer to the Signet, the Post Office probably would have known it, but the letter had to be transferred to the Edinburgh main office, where the framed 3-line date stamp of 6OCLK PM 31 Mar1830 was applied in black ink and also the handstamp figure 1 to show the postage had not been paid.
India Street Receiving House was on the western edge of the city opened in 1828 until 1834. It was the 19th City receiving house, and this two-line stamp was the only handstamp used there. As Mr Rollo lived in Dundas Street and there was a receiving house in that street, I wonder why he lodged the letter in the India Street one instead.
Transcription - This was so easy to read there were only two queries : a phrase which apparently “right of hypathec” . An internet search provided this definition from Wikipedia, which appeared to be the contentious item in the letter.
QuoteWhich explains what seemed to be the contentious item in the letter, and one there was other word which is barely legible because of the fold of the letter, and proved to be ‘dislike’.
The writer used the 'long S' when he had a word with double ‘s’ in it, and although it is not possible to use that key, the nearest to it is the letter 'f', so I have put that in where it appears, e.g. ‘asfigned ’ for ‘assigned’. The subject of the letter is complex and needs a lot of words to explain the situation, and the writer has not bothered much with punctuation.
I also sourced the map through the internet to show the location of the three streets relevant to the letter, and they are quite close to each other. Jamaica Street mentioned in the first paragraph as the property in question, was a street of terraced houses, which survived to the 20th century when they were demolished as being slums and replaced with new dwellings called Jamaica Mews.
16 Dundas Street
When the security was afsigned to Capt. Ker the rental of the property was upwards of £150 after deducting the fee duty so that even if property of that description had fallen another which I do not understand is the case, in any situation and which is fully more than can be stated on account of the change in the respectability of the inhabitants of which however I am not aware, there would remain ample security for the sum lent by Capt Ker. But in the next place besides Mr Dickson’s personal security which has never been questioned, Capt Ker has collateral security for payment of the interest which tho’ apparently only to that extent is in fact a collateral obligation for the principal. And in addition to this the interest has been regularly paid whenever demanded Mr Dickson has no doubt like all other Debtors applied for reduction of the interest but this he considered no favour as he could easily obtain the money elsewhere and for my own part I am always more inclined to dislike a security where advantages are held out higher than what are general.
It is amazing that this letter which is nearly 200 years old, is perfectly preserved and the ink has not faded, a testament to the quality of the products in use at that time.
Sources : The Postal History of Great Britain and Ireland, R.M. Willcocks|
Great Britain Post Roads Post Towns and Postal rates 1635-1839 Alan W. Robertson,
Google maps and Wikipedia
A postal history exhibit by Jack A Gunn Edinburgh and District Penny Posts
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