Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sorting Eltham's letters at Blackheath in 1830

A short series looking at the story behind the picture.

Back in the 1977 my friend Jean gave a  talk on the postal service in Eltham during the 19th century which she later turned into a set of articles published in the Eltham Society magazine.

“This is the building in Dartmouth Row, Blackheath which was the sorting office for Eltham and all the surrounding districts from the mid 1830s.

This was where the people of Blackheath would have bought their Penny Blacks in 1840 or a 'Twopenny Blue'- the world's first postage stamps in 1840”

The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was issued in Britain on 1 May 1840, for official use from 6 May of that year.

All London post offices received official issues of the new stamps but other offices throughout the United Kingdom did not, continuing to accept postage payments in cash only for a period.

It was still a post office in 1977 but today is a private residence.


Picture; the sorting office on Dartmouth Row in 1977 and text from Jean Gammons, and The Penny Black fro Wikipedia Commons

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