John Fox of London

A Victorian letter, 1838.


Eunice Shanahan

This is an example of a Twopenny Post letter lodged and delivered within London. It was addressed to

John Fox Esq
10 Gt Ormond Street
OR 14 Queen Square
It was written by Thomas Dear and dated 3rd December 1838.

The post marks are the Receiving house stamp unframed in black

223 High Holborn

( This Receiving House was under the Westminster office, and this stamp was in use from 1838 –1840).
The Hand struck 2 in black, which was the charge to be paid by the addressee, applied at one of the Principal Offices and a red indented transfer stamp of the next day 1838 DE 4 8 Mg 8, showing the time it was stamped for delivery. The month before the day shows that it was applied at the Chief Office. This type of postmark with the year at the top was introduced in 1838.

The letter is in two parts, the first part is perfectly legible and intelligible

Lincolns Inn Flds 3d Decemr 1838,
Dear Sir,
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 30th ult:– It will afford me much pleasure to make the inquiries you ask which I hope I shall be able to do in the course of a few days – You may rest assured I will not delay it a single moment longer than I can help
I remain Dr Sir
Your faithful St.
Thos Dear

Inside the letter however it is a different story.
There are four paragraphs of what looks like notes of reminder of things to do or been done, and it is headed and marked off
Stanley Copy a/c
This seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the notes, which are crossed through with straight zig–zag lines.(Illustration below.)

The writing is very small and cramped and abbreviated so anything that is not clear to read I have put in between square brackets with a query mark.

Pr Hostefs & all uselefs artls
Key for Sketchley [his or me?] with full partars
To be returned by Monday eveng forUnion with any ansr for Falkner

= Pork Pie, Spanish &c
Mr Hope next time to say if writg & say when I shall be down
Congratulation of Friends here who may see at [Nanast?] The owners alone no concern about

No Pig ½ a side not too large. mst be bot Mr S will advance if needful – Fires For Knee Caps & Comfortables [?tris?] Shirt =

Mr S what sum he pd to my a/c & what drawn upon Childs
Congratulations on two Causes
Myself too long.

As this is a different writing from that on the front of the letter, perhaps Mr Fox the addressee has simply used this spare piece of paper as a frugal act.

The watermark is one we have not seen before JOHN DINWIDNEY but with no year. As this is at the bottom of the page, the watermark could have been cut off.

Reference: The Local Posts of London 1680 – 1840 by George Brumell.

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