Thursday 1 October 2020

October Slogan Postmarks - and others

This is where I will post all slogans and other interesting postmarks reported to us or actually received in the post.

We had our first stamped (and postmarked) letter for a while today and can report that October starts not with a continuation of the Breast Cancer Awareness month, but with a simple slogan for Black History Month 2020.  This was actually used in Norwich yesterday, 30 September, so I will add it to the September post as well for the record.  Norwich Mail Centre 30-09-2020:

Black History

Update 8 October.  RW has sent a version of the above from Croydon Mail Centre on 07-10-2020 with the lines closer together, but the letters appear to be the same size.

Four-line slogan in the other format, from Gatwick Mail Centre 02/10/2020 (thanks to RW).

A clearer example from Gatwick dated 05/10/20 has been provided by KD (thank you).

UPDATE 9 October

Our thanks to JG for the latest slogan to add to the Covid-19 pandemic collection, which encourages the use of the Contact Tracing App for mobile phones.  This examaple is from the Jubilee Mail Centre dated 08-10-2020.

Protect your
loved ones.
Download your
nation's contact
tracing app.

My thanks to MM for supplying, as he says, a decent copy of the Tyneside MC printing on 09/10/2020 of the alternative layout, with different spacing.

Thanks also to BM for an even clearer one from Southampton Portsmouth & IOW mail centre on 15/10/2020.

UPDATE 21 October

Spotted on Twitter today, this seems to be marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which was founded on 24 October 1945.  I'm sure we'll all be pleased to see a better example (or two)

United Nations 75 slogan postmark.

Thanks to AH, we have a decent example of the UN75 slogan in the other layout from North & West Yorks also 20/10/2020

This is the logo from the UN website, in English

Logo for UN75 - 2020 and Beyond

75th Anniversary of the United Nations slogan postmark

A clearer one from BM which at least shows the logo properly, even if the stamps were pen-cancelled.  This one's from Gatwick Mail Centre 21/10/2020.

UPDATE 27 October.  Royal Mail apparently mentioned this in social media on 23 October and provided this mock-up:

Also today we received a letter with the revival of Breast Cancer Awareness Month from Mount Pleasant Mail Centre on 24-10-2020.   However this one added to by member GBCC from Peterborough Mail Centre on 26-10-2020 is better:

Other postmarks

Our mobile contributor and benefactor has been travelling again. When I collected a week's post this morning there were contributions from Great Massingham (King's Lynn, Norfolk) 29 SE 20 and Ripon Mobile 25 SE 20 (many thanks JLB!).

Great Massingham is a picturesque village about 15 miles NW of Dereham and 13 miles E of King's Lynn.  The postmaster operates a mobile service to numerous villages which have lost their post office in recent years.  This self-inking-datestamp appears to be the regular one for the village PO, but it may have been used* on the mobile so the letter could have been posted at any one of the villages shown on the mobile's Facebook page:  Harpley, Hillington, East Rudham, Great Bircham, Ingoldisthorpe, Snettisham, Thornham, Brancaster, Longham, Field Dalling, West Newton, Sedgeford, Weasenham and Hellhoughton!

UPDATE 16 November: According to an Eastern Daily Press report on 18 December 2019, further villages were added to the service some over 40 miles across Norfolk!  However, there is some confusion in this statement from Matt Hatfull, Post Office area network change manager: 

"We are pleased to be able to add Weasenham St Peter, Helhoughton, South Walsham and Salhouse to the existing Mobile Post Office offered by the postmaster for Great Massingham and Great Aylsham.

"To accommodate these new services, we have made some minor changes to the current opening hours of the Hosted Outreach services offered at Newton St Faiths, Worstead, Bodham and Bacton. These changes will take effect from January 29, 2020."

Salhouse, South Walsham, Worstead and Bacton are all over 40 miles from Gt Massingham. The confusion comes from the use of the term 'Great Aylsham' as there is no such place, and I wonder if some of these services are actually provided from Aylsham post office, less than 15 miles from coastal Bacton. It is quite possible for one person to be postmaster of both places.

The Ripon Mobile operates out of Ripon Post Office in Yorkshire.  It was in use in Ripon from 18 - 28 September due to the relocation of the branch from Finkle Street to The Aracde, Market Square.   Normally these villages are served: North Stainley, Wath, Melmerby, Baldersby, Kirkby Malzeard, Kirklington, Cundall, Helperby, Kirby Wiske, Borrowby Lower, Borrowby Upper, Kepwick, Nether Silton, Staveley, Glasshouses, Masham, and Lofthouse.

UPDATE 13 October: the latest 'mobile' postmark to arrive here (thanks JLB) is from the Upwell Mobile. Information on the web and in news articles is conflicting - probably the coverage has changed over the years.  I think the villages visited are now Welney, Wimbotsham, Wereham, Christchurch, Marshland St James, Beachamwell, Fincham, Gooderstone, Magdalen, Narborough, Walton Highway, Wereham, Southery, Stowbridge, Oxborough and Nordelph all in West Norfolk where this was posted on the afternoon of 30 September, according to the note on the back of the cover. However, as you will see it was postmarked on 7 October, and today was the first time I collected the mail since the 6th, so I don;t know when it arrived in Dereham, hopefully on 8th or 9th.

UPDATE 19 October: Another Mobile Post Office cover arrived in our PO Box during the last week, and this one is a puzzle.  We know that JLB is in the city of Lincoln.  A Google search for 'Lincoln Mobile Post Office' finds a service provided to the village of Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire so I'm guessing it's not that one because the canceller doesn't usually show the name of the serviced village.

It's most likely to be the one run by the Postmaster at Linton in Derbyshire, which is (or was in 2018) the biggest service in the country extending to four counties including Staffordshire.  The ink-jet postmark on this cover is from Nottingham Mail Centre.  According to postofficeviews, the 2018 consultation pages of the Post Office website, this office serves the following villages, and possibly more: Walton on Trent, Blackfordby, Sheepy Magna, Bitteswell, Abbots Bromley, Denstone, Whitacre Heath, Whittington, Fillongley, Hammerwich, Mapleton, Hulland Ward, Turnditch, Acton Trussell and Branston.

But there's also a Linton in Cambridge, and there may be others.  If only there was an up-to-date comprehensive list of Mobiles.  Please let me know if you find one!

UPDATE 18 November.  We now have accurate information on these mobile services.

GREAT MASSINGHAM (King's Lynn, Norfolk)

Thornham, Hunstanton; Hillington, King's Lynn; Harpley, King's Lynn; Field Dalling, Holt; Langham, Holt; Brancaster Staithe, King's Lynn; West Newton, King's Lynn; Bircham, King's Lynn; Sedgeford, Hunstanton; East Rudham, King's Lynn; Ingoldisthorpe, King's Lynn; Snettisham, King's Lynn; Weasenham St Peter, King's Lynn; Helhoughton, Fakenham.

RIPON (North Yorkshire)

North Stainley, Ripon; Borrowby Lower, Borrowby Upper, Kirkby Malzeard, Kirby Wiske,  Baldersby, Thirsk; Kirklington, Bedale; Nether Silton, Thirsk; Kepwick, Thirsk; Cundall, York; Melmerby, Ripon; Wath, Ripon; Hampsthwaite, Harrogate; Lofthouse, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate;  Staveley, Knaresborough; Masham, Ripon; Glasshouses, Harrogate; Ripley,Harrogate; Grewelthorpe; Bishop Monkton, Harrogate; Helperby, York.

UPWELL (Wisbech, Cambridgeshire)

Northwold, Thetford; Fincham Kings Lynn; Gooderstone, Kings Lynn; Narborough, Kings Lynn; Stow Bridge, Kings Lynn; Oxborough, Kings Lynn; Welney, Wisbech; Nordelph, Downham Market; Wereham, Kings Lynn; Christchurch, Wisbech; Beachamwell, Swaffham; Southery, Downham Market; St Johns Fen; Marham, Kings Lynn; Walton Highway, Wisbech; Magdalen, Kings Lynn;

LINTON (Swadlincote, Derbyshire)

Walton-on-Trent, Swadlincote; Blackfordby, Swadlincote; Sheepy Magna, Atherstone; Bitteswell, Lutterworth; Abbots Bromley, Rugeley; Uttoxeter; Whitacre Heath, Coleshill; Whittington, Lichfield; Fillongley, Coventry; Hammerwich, Burntwood; Mapleton, Ashbourne; Hulland Ward, Ashbourne; Turnditch, Belper; Acton Trussell, Stafford; Branston, Burton-On-Trent.

Mystery handstamp

At the end of last month JF sent me this image and I promised I would include it in October to avoid it getting lost back in September.

I don't recall seeing this one before, and it is obviously something pressed into service, probably at a PO counter.  JF writes:

As far as I can see the letter/packet has been upgraded from 1st class to 2nd class large and the cancel reads “P.O. 4235393” although on one strike the “O” looks like a “D”.  I have no idea from where the item originated but was probably received in Nottingham.The 1p stamps are M16L, the 5o are M18L & 1st is M19L &MSIL making the piece fairly recent.

It looks as if the number is the branch 7-digit FAD code used for accounting purposes.  These are often stamped on the back of promotional leaflets in branch for non-postal services, so that the branch processing the application can be identified to the central office. 

FAD codes as identified in many places are 6 digits, with the 7th being added for checking purposes - I don't know the details.

I believe that the handstamp came from FAD423539 which is the code allocated to the branch in Bude in Cornwall.

Barcode question

Swindon reader RM has sent a scrap from an envelope which has this yellow-label with a black barcode placed near the foot of the envelope.  It's said to be from a letter sent from the UK to Australia - you can see part of the address 'TAS 7030' and hidden by the (peelable) label is the word 'Australia'.

We are all used to seeing red/orange barcodes on mail within the United Kingdom, and on some incoming mail from other countries.  This isn't an Australian mark, as far as I know - but I'm checking. From my experience this looks like a routing code applied by the US Postal Service.  Which suggests that the letter went to the USA in error.  

UPDATE 20 October.  My friends in Australia on Stampboards confirm that this is indeed an Australia Post label.  The barcode is applied to incoming mail, as shown on this postcard from Germany and also to internal mail.

Modern practice is for there to be no Mis-Sort marks applies, certainly by the larger postal administrations, although some island nations still use them. (Steve Zirinsky always has a wide selection on his website.)  So if this did get routed via the USA, then such a barcode on the complete envelope would be the only way of knowing.  Unfortunately as it is an untied peelable label, even that is not certain evidence.

Any more slogan postmarks and other interesting postmarks will be added here as time permits


  1. I too received a letter today, postmarked 30th Sept, with the Black History Month post mark

  2. I wonder if there was one for World Postcard Day. Elsewhere around the world perhaps?

  3. With regard to the 16 November update. The Post Office Letter is lumping two different offices as one. The service for Salhouse, South Walsham, Worstead and Bacton are provided by Aylsham are at the bottom of the page. Salhouse and South Walsham have yet to appear on Branch Finder.

    The locations for Great Massingham are shown on the simplified map

    1. Yes, I suspected as much: but a I wrote it is possible for the same postmaster to operate more than one branch. The SPM at Acle also ran Thunder Lane Norwich.


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