Wednesday 4 November 2020

November Postmark News

This is where all November slogans will be recorded and illustrated, as well as other postmarks of interest.  There aren't any slogans yet, so the first item is about a mobile/outreach service.


Thanks to MC for the November re-use of the default Action for Children slogan from North & West Yorkshire on 05/11/2020.  UPDATE 10 November: My thanks to BM for a picture of the other layout from Exeter Mail Centre 02-11-2020.

Royal Mail - supporting youth mental health with - Action for Children, default slogan postmark, North & West Yorkshire

Royal Mail - supporting youth mental health with - Action for Children, default slogan postmark Exeter

UPDATE 10 November.  Thanks to BM also for a great example of this year's Remembrance slogan; the sender couldn't have guessed that his Dad's Army stamp would get such an appropriate postmark. This example is from Peterborough Mail Centre 09-11-2020

Lest We Forget
Armistice Day
11 November 2020

Lest We Forget Armistice Day slogan from Peterborough Mail Centre 09-11-2020
Our own mail today included this alternative layout from Chester & N Wales mail centre 09/11/2020
Lest We Forget Armistice Day slogan from Chester & N Wales Mail Centre 09-11-2020

UPDATE 28 November.

Royal Mail's Christmas campaign has started not with the usual exhortation to post early, or listing the last posting dates, but with one which mirrors their social media and television campaigning for people to 'Shop Early, Send Early', which seems eminently sensible despite the optimism of their published last posting dates.

Shop Early,
Send Early this

Shop Early, Send Early this Christmas slogan postmarks.

My thanks to MC for sending this example from North West Midlands 27/11/2020, and to RW for the Croydon Mail Centre 27-11-2020 example. This campaign should continue into December and these postmarks will be copied to the December blogpost.

Other postmarks

Our peregrinating contributor JB of Lincoln has ventured south into Suffolk for his latest posting, which also presents a bit of a puzzle.  This postmark of STANTON OUTREACH SERVICES appears to be dated 27 09 20 - but it only arrived in our PO box last week. Unfortunately the ink-jet slogan machine postmark from Norwich puts the date firmly on the stamp and it is illegible!  I think the date was probably wrongly set.

Update 6 November: My thanks to PA who reminds me that the month is always in letters on these, so it must be OC for OCtober, wich makes a lot of sense!

Stanton Outreach Services A self-inking datestamp

As usual, it is difficult to get precise details of mobile/outreach services on the web, but according to a Suffolk News report in March 2019:

A mobile post office, which will serve nine village communities started this week.

The new service, which is serving Rickinghall, Yaxley, Walsham-le-Willows, Gislingham, Thorndon, Great Finborough, Norton, Ixworth and Hopton started yesterday (March 7 2019)

Outreach services are normally provided by a postmaster in surrounding villages using portable equipment provided to and taken out from the base branch to community facilities like village halls or public houses.  Unlike mobiles where the services are provided from the back of a vehicle when there are no community facilities, with Outreach the equipment (and stock) is carried in a private vehicle. 

However, according to the earlier report on the Post Office Views consultation website:

We are pleased to let you know that we will be restoring Post Office services to the communities of Rickinghall, Yaxley and Walsham Le Willows with the introduction of a Mobile service which will start week commencing 28 January 2019.  

The Mobile Service is a travelling Post Office aboard a specifically designed vehicle that brings Post Office services and retail products to communities without relying on fixed premises that has formed part of our operational network for some years now. 

We are therefore pleased to inform you that the postmaster from Stanton Post Office is willing to offer services to the above locations. The establishment of Mobile services presents the best possible solution to restore Post Office services to these communities. 

According to the East Anglian Daily Times the Stanton Mobile/Outreach also provided a service to Sicklesmere when that village shop and post office was engulfed by a flash flood.**


UPDATE 9 November:  My thanks to PA for the following information on Outreach and Mobile:

The Mobile Post Offices (i.e Vans with the PO installed within, which park at Village Hall or Pub Car Parks, laybys etc.) should have a datestamp “XXX Mobile” Hosted Outreaches (i.e the equipment is taken to and used inside a Village Hall, Pub etc.) should have a datestamp “XXX Outreach {Service(s)}”.

However, there are exceptions, Stanton Mobile uses Stanton Outreach – it is quite possible that they had run an outreach service in the past, but I don’t know whether that was the case.
- Scotby Mobile used a Scotby datestamp for me, but that could have simply been a case of the wrong datestamp
- When Cam took over the Mobile from Royal Wootton Bassett he had the old SID, but was told he shouldn’t use it and so he used one of his Cam datestamps. Eventually he did receive a new SID last year – Cam Mobile Van.
- Cliff Lane, Ipswich Outreach was using a Cliff Lane Mobile datestamp, but that was because they had previously run a mobile.
- Collingham Outreach uses Collingham H.O.S.
Two recently introduced Outreaches use Hurstpierpoint Hosted and Rodmill Hosted. 
Of the locations you mention for Stanton Mobile, Norton and Rickinghall appear to have ceased.

Update 16 November  This is the self-inking-datestamp (SID) for Mattishall Outreach Services (Norfolk) used in 2012.  The SID is no longer in use, having self-destructed well before it wore out; the old single-ring datestamp on Outreach services while the double-ring datestamp is used in the branch.

Mattishall Outreach Services SID 2012 (left) & Older Mattishall/Dereham Norfolk single ring datestamp.

Outreach services started in the early 2000's - I have an example from 2009 - as branches were closing due to retirement or the closure programme.  Villages served have been Bawdeswell, Bintree, Foulsham, Gressenhall, Elsing, Lyng, and others. 

It seems that the contributor who I have desrcibed as 'wandering' may in fact be staying at home.  The latest mobile postmark to arrive, last week, is from Markethill.  The only branch that I can find with this name is in County Armagh, and this is borne out by the Northern Ireland Mail Centre slogan added to this letter.

Markethill Co. Armagh mobile postmark  3 November 2020.

It isn't easy to find out which locations are served by this mobile, no response has been received from the branch.  A look at the Post Office Branch Finder webpage shows the following nearby: Cladymore, Lisnadill, Scarva, Ballyward, and Katesbridge. **

My apologies to JB who sends these covers, for not reporting on one which I received in September, for HEMINGFORD GREY MOBILE SERVICE in Cambridgeshire  I first saw this one on a first day cover for the 2009 Postboxes stamp issue, although none of the postboxes on the MS or Smilers Sheet was in the village.  The Huntingdon Post reported that the mobile was going to serve the village of Holme in June 2009. Other villages served are reported on various webpages as Over, Cambourne, but there may be others. **

The post office was also at one time hosted by the church with the vicar as postmaster, but as a recent report shows that the mobile will be at Hemingford Grey Stores while they are refurbished, that arrangement seems to have ended.  

Hemingford Grey Mobile Service postmark 23 September 2020

**UPDATE 18 November. We now have accurate information on the services these mobiles provide, except Mattishall which is an Outreach.

STANTON (Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk)

Walsham le Willows, Bury St Edmunds; Ixworth, Bury St Edmunds; Thorndon, Eye; Norton, Bury St Edmunds; Great Finborough, Stowmarket; Stowupland, Stowmarket; Hopton, Diss; Botesdale, Diss; Yaxley, Eye.

MARKETHILL (County Armagh)

Jerrettspass, Newry; Cladymore; Lisnadill; Craigavon.

HEMINGFORD GREY (Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire)

Over, Cambridge (2 stops); Holme, Peterborough; Little Paxton, St Neots; Cambourne; Marshland St James, Wisbech.


Hiding in the spam folder was news of another outreach from JF, so sorry that this is late also.

Yatton 2 Outreach date stamp, 4 November 2020

JF visited the Claverham Post Office, which is hosted in the village hall three mornings per week.  The Postmistress was very helpful and gave me an impression of the date stamp above.  She said that Yatton also covers the village of Cleeve with, presumably, a different date stamp (1)? as they are open on two of the same mornings.

Whilst there is plenty of information on the web, particularly in local newspapers, about branch closures, there is no consolidated report on mobile and outreach services and who the provider is.

More news as we receive it - from you!


  1. Postmarked 2nd November, slogan is again supporting Action for Children.

  2. Rickinghall is Botesdale 736136 Friday 14:45-15:45

    707130 Norton on Thursday 12:15-13:15


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