Chapter Seven

Chapter Six

Journey into Kent

not long to live
    The next letter is from an entirely new direction — southeast to Kent. It is again from J Alston to Mr T.S Alston at 97 Watling St London, and the writer has dated it Ramsgate, 25th May 1830. However the postal markings show that he must have missed the post on that day, as the datestamp is RAMSGATE 26 MY 1830, and the LONDON receiving stamp, (a red circled morning duty) is MY 27, 1830. There are three manuscript charge marks on the letter : 8d, both on the front and the back, and then 1/5 written on the back. This would seem to be a total cost of a double 8-penny rate,(the correct charge for a distance of 73 miles) plus one penny. An explanation for this could be that it was not pre-paid, so the receiver had to pay the double rate, and the penny could be for a local postage at either end.

Margate had a cross-post to Canterbury, to meet up with the London-Dover mail route, and it is possible that mail from Ramsgate was also despatched on this cross-post and that a penny was charged for this service. If a penny had been added at the London end, for delivery by the London Penny Post, then there should have been an appropriate postmark as evidence.

The letter says :-

Dear Thos,

I have yours this morng to Margate with patterns etc, have done what I could there and here also & am just going off to Deal. The people have all been so lately to Town that they are full of Goods & this illness of the King they will not buy any fancy goods whatever. Be very particular with these 2 orders that you execute them exactly to pattern, it is only a beginning & if we execute these well they will lead to other things. I hope by degrees to get in with Kent, but at the first start I find I hard work. Hansen has just been before me, a few days so that it is rather against me.

Mr Reader of Tennant & Co will very probably call on you the end of next week, if nothing comes over the King.

Yrs Truly, J Alston.

On the inside he lists the sales he has made showing the route he took. (see illustration).

On the 24th, to Sharpe's of Faversham, an assortment of collars varying in price from 14pence up to 3shillings and 6pence.

to Wm Howland, Canterbury, an assortment of collars, cuffs and cap crowns for a total of six pounds ten shillings and ninepence. He received six pounds sevenshillings and sixpence in cash, leaving a balance of 3shillings and 3pence, which he may have allowed as a cash discount.

On the 25th to C Atkinson Margate, 1 ps blk Gros at 2/3 — and he adds instructions to this order :- Coach Blossoms Inn

- This is one of the old pattns at 2/3, it must be exact to pattn or he will return it, he has taken a pattn off it, see if you can possibly get the same as what I have sent

to Hurst, Queens St Ramsgate - 1 ps Blk Gros 2/6 1 ps blk Gros 2/11

these must be also exact to pattern or he says he will return them. Also if the 2/6 is one of the old patterns the 2/11 is the one at 3/1 70½ yds you sent me today. He would not give me more than 2/11 for it, & I just let him have it, to get an order from him. He has just been to Town. If you have not the 70½ ydges dont send the other one for it, rather get one to pattn sent per first coach to Ramsgate. Let them all be very nice colours, the shades sent of the other pattn at 3/- is of a brownish sort of color and is not liked so well. Do not sent it to Hurst if you have not the 70½ ydges.

Fore's Coaching Recollections — "All Night"

The following Time Bills are taken from "Mailcoach men of the 18th Century" by Edmund Vale.

London to Dover

Leave London GPO 8 pm
Rochester 32 miles 12.30 am
CANTERBURY 26 miles 4.10 am
Dover 15 miles 6.30 am

Dover to London

Leave Dover Post Office 6.30 pm
CANTERBURY 15 miles 8.50 pm
Rochester 26 miles 12.30 am
LONDON 32 miles 5.30 am

Cross-Post Canterbury & Margate

Operated only in the season, about 18 or 20 weeks of the year.
Canterbury 4.30 am (20 minutes after the Mail Coach from London)
Arrive at Margate 17 miles away 7.15 am

Return trip Depart Margate 5 pm

Arrive at Canterbury 7.45 pm (in time for the Mail Coach going to London)

Chapter Seven

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