LP Ship letter office

London Post — Postmarks of the Ship Letter Office

Maritime Mail to and from Britain has a long and complex history, and the postal markings are many and varied. For a general overview of Maritime Markings click here
In London before 1799 the Foreign Office dealt with letters to and from Continental Europe, including the Continental packet services. Letters brought to England by private vessels were handed in at their first port of call and were then carried to their destination by the Inland Office, which was also responsible for the Colonial packet service. This situation changed in September 1799 when the London Ship Letter Office was opened. This office became responsible for all overseas letters, other than those carried by packets. Also at this time the original two-line ship letter handstamps were gradually replaced by oval ones. With the introduction of uniform postage in 1840 the duties of the Ship Letter Office diminished, and in 1847 it was transferred to the Inland Office.
(Source:- "The British County Catalogue of Postal History, 3, London" by R.M. Willcocks & B. Jay")
The images below show four examples of these postmarks, go to the next page for more details.


crown paid


Circular Ship Letter




Copyright 2002 E. J. Shanahan

By EARS Leisurewrite
Ship Letter Office continued


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