HOW MUCH?! - the London 6d inland late fee
AROUND 15 years ago I was chatting to a friend who collected unusual Line Engraved covers and he informed me that there was a 6d Late Fee from London.
We laughed at why a person would pay an extra 6d ie 6 x 1d rate to send a letter that night and it wasn’t even Registered.
He referred me to John Parmenter’s book London Late Fees and Too Late Mail 1840 to 1930 published in 2002.
Naturally, I forgot about it thinking that I was unlikely ever to see one.
Then, earlier this year, another friend of mine found one and wanted to know if I would like it, yes please was my reply.
As often happens and if by magic, but more likely a collection came on the market, I managed to find
another one. Both these covers were from the two places where this was used according to John Parmenter’s book.
Parmenter states that one of the two places that had a 6d late fee, for Inland Mail, was the Chief Office at St Martins Le Grand between 1840 and 1865 (along with the normal 1d to be put in between 6-7pm). The 6d rate was established for mail delivered from 7.00-7.30 pm. This could be paid in cash up to 1859 when they had to be paid in stamps.
The above image shows such an example with a 6d stamp added and dated 7th June 1860 cancelled by the 45 double London cancel and with a late fee date stamp on the reverse, going to Bromsgrove.
The other place where a 6d Late Fee came into use was at Euston Square Station. This happened to be a Railway Late Fee for London and North- Western Railways and in service between 1848 and 1864.
There were two times in the day this could be used, and it was a bag drop service between 8.30 and 9.50 in the morning and 7.30 and 8.00
in the evening.
Both needed to have the extra 6d paid in stamps along with the normal postage.
Pictured above is a single 1d red Imperf plate 81 used with 2 strips of 3 from plate 75 to make up the 6d Late Fee and is dated November 15th, 1848 thus being a very early use of this service. The stamps are cancelled by the 964 numeral of Euston Square Station along with a cancelled date stamp on the front. This was used on the night service as it arrived in the morning at Penrith on the November 16th.
I believe these covers are scarce and I bought them as known Late Fee covers however, I also believe that there is a chance to find them as it’s a little-known event. Therefore, over to you to find them and good luck.
London Late Fee and Too Late Mail 1840 to 1930 – John Parmenter 2002