Library

The Society has an extensive library of postal history publications, handbooks, Post Office guides, postal contracts, journals and related material built up over many years. It includes numerous titles that are currently out or print or difficult to locate.

The library is available for reference by members and those resident in the United Kingdom may borrow books and other items for up to two months. Certain books are only available for reference at the library. For the Society's own publications, please refer to the publications page.

The Librarian will undertake any reasonable bibliographical research on specific topics on request and photocopies can be supplied of any material considered relevant.

We have just purchased a number of titles written by Ted Proud and we now have a complete run of his books on postal history.

Check the online library listing to find publications you would like to see, make a note of (or copy/paste) the details (maximum of 2) and contact the Librarian, including the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email
  • Title of book(s)
  • Name of author(s)

Address: “Tumblins”, Winterborne Stickland, Dorset DT11 0ED
Telephone: 01258 880841
Email»

Chester Cross Post Cover

1756 letter from Chester to Petton endorsed "X post", charged 3d and sent via the Bristol to Chester cross post

Valparaiso to Hamburg via Panama

This unpaid wrapper posted in Valparaiso dated 5th September 1873 will have travelled up the west coast of South America on a Pacific Steam Navigational Company ship to Panama. There it crossed the Isthmus on the American owned railway to Colon and loaded onto R.M.S. Elbe of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. It departed on the 21st September arriving Plymouth on the 23rd October and arriving in London the same day where a charge mark of 1/5d was struck showing the amount due to the British Post Office. On arriving in Hamburg on the 25th October a charge of 19 ½ silver groschen was raised as shown in blue crayon

Early Machine Cancellations – Hoster Trials 1882-93

Trials started with the Post Office in 1882 on 2 machines submitted by Mr. Albert Hoster, which are thought to be a development of the earlier tested Azemar prototypes. Hoster insisted they offered faster processing with a high degree of accuracy. Despite various rejections by the Post Office Circulation Department the trials continued for 11 years. The final result was that they finished up life stamping the reverse of the cover as a receiving stamp, normally in red. The above type was used at Charing Cross branch in use between 16th October 1885 until 7th December 1887

Posted in Advance for Christmas

A postcard cancelled by the 'Christmas Cross' of Knutsford, Cheshire dated 1906. This scheme was introduced in 1902 and ran until 1909 with a variety of towns participating. During the latter years it was largely based in the North West of England from the regional post offices of Manchester and Liverpool. The idea behind it was that Christmas postcards and letters could be handed into a main post office around the 17th- 22nd December. Here they were cancelled with the special cachet and given a guaranteed delivery on Christmas Day. This gave the Post Office an opportunity to sort these early posted items and help relieve some of the enormous pressure associated with the increased Christmas mail

Postage due cover

A 1964 underpaid cover illustrating the use of French and Italian postage due stamps. A French postage stamp was also used to pay part of the tax

Sudan Airmail

It is quite remarkable what lengths people will and have gone to produce a cover. This is a first day cancellation dated 5th February 1931 struck in Khartoum and sent by ship to Alexandra with a Shellal-Halfa T.P.O. dated the 18th February on the reverse. Put on a plane to the UK where, what is highly probable, a grace-and-favour hand-stamp on a ½d green, date stamped 25th September, has been applied to confirm receipt. This would help establish that the letter had been carried by airmail. Much of this supposition is based on the known fact that the addressee was a stamp dealer. However it does illustrate the point that at times it is as well to have a guess in figuring out a cover

75th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet

The Postal History Society was formed as the first specialised Society of its kind when a group of eminent enthusiasts gathered in what was no doubt a smoke-filled room at 96 Regent Street, London, on Saturday 24th October 1936. Among the names to conjure with from the annals of the past are Fred Melville, Robson Lowe, Forster Bond and Samuel Graveson, all of whom feature on many library shelves to this day.