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1825 LIVERPOOL Sundry Information ~ No.6

 

Well I bet you all wondered where on earth has our Liverpool Rambler got to. The reason for my absence is simple ~ ale! Ah! you all say, he has been in his favourite haunt but nothing can be further from the truth. True, my tavern is involved, but only by association. About a week ago my wife and I were awoken by a terrific commotion in the street outside. In the early morning light we could just make out a runaway brewery dray coming round the corner at the top of the hill - no horses to be seen. As it clattered and careered over the uneven cobbles it started scattering barrels of beer in all directions. By the time it reached our abode....... well enough said. It hit the side of our house and disgorged the remainder of the barrels. Some of these were catapulted through our downstairs window, breaking open on impact and filling our parlour with the 'amber nectar'. (what a waste I thought) The damage however was considerable to furniture and fabrics alike, not to mention the window. Anyway today is the first time I have been able to concentrate on my walks and have been to the Post Office to see the Post Master, Mr BANNING. The details of the workings of this large building at 67 Church Street are lengthy, but I have got hold of a pamphlet issued by WILLIAM BANNING Esq., and will extract some of the information from it for your perusal.

"This office opens every morning for the general delivery 
        of letters from all parts at half-past eight o'clock.
SHIP LETTERS ~ Letters coming from on board any
        ship are chargeable with an additional rate for a
        single letter of 8d.
There is also a delivery at half-past five of the letters
        brought by the second mails from Prescot, Warrington,
        Manchester, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire,
        Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and
        Norfolk.
And a delivery at eight P.M. of the letters brought by the
        second mail from Ormskirk and Preston.
When delay occurs in the arrival of the several mails, a
        correspondent delay unavoidably takes place in the
        respective deliveries.
The following are the hours at which the letter-box of this
        office is closed for making up the several mails, and 
        the hours at which each mail is despatched:-"

There follows a long list of box closure times, destinations and letter despatch times, ranging from Prescot, Isle of Man, North Wales, London, the continent of Europe, North and South America and the West Indies. It is a extensive list which I am not going to enter here................continuing...

"Letters coveyed outwards in sealed bags, are chargeable
        with half package postage, which must be paid when
        put into the office.
INDIA ~ Letters to and from the East Indies are regularly
        forwarded by ships. The postage must be paid here.
The rate outwards is 2d. per package under three ounces;
        if above that weight, one shilling per ounce.
The rate inwards is 4d. per package under three ounces;
        if above that weight, one shilling per ounce.
By the Ship Letter Act, it is enacted, that every master
        of a vessel, immediately on his arrival in port, shall
        take the whole of the letters to the Post-Office, under
        penalty of 200, and the captain must sign a
        declaration that every letter has been so delivered,
        before his vessel can be permitted to report to the
        Custom-House.
Vessels to and from Ireland, or coastwise, are not allowed
        to convey letters under a heavy penalty."

There now follows a long schedule of charges for rates of postage of single letter in Great Britain, starting with.....

"From any Post-office in England or Wales to any place not
        exceeding fifteen miles from such office.........0s. 4d."

up to........

"For any distance above 230 miles and not exceeding 300
        miles..........................................................1s. 0d.
        and so on in proportion, the postage increasing
        progressively one penny for a single letter for every  
        like excess of distance of 100 miles.
Ireland, by way of Holyhead, 3d.; Donaghadee, 2d.; by packet
        boats, over and above all other rates.
Guernsey and Jersey, 3d.; by packet boats, over and above all
        other rates.
All double, treble, and other letters and packets whatever
        (except by the penny post) pay in proportion to the res-
        -pective rates of single letters; but no letter or packet to 
        and from places within the kingdom of Great Britain,
        together with the contents thereof, shall be charged more
        than as a treble letter, unless the same shall weigh an
        ounce, when it is to be rated as four single letters, and so
        on in proportion for every quarter of an ounce above that
        weight, reckoning each quarter as a single letter."

At this stage I had to take a break, so I went to see my friend Mr. BANNING and found him in a spacious, wood-panelled office, sitting at a commodious desk, surrounded by artifacts obviously given to him by visiting mariners from abroad. Beckoning me to enter, I sat by the window and entered into a long discussion on the 'workings' of his Post Office. During the chat I asked him to explain this last paragraph, which he did, but I must say I was no wiser when he had finished! After some welcome victuals, I decided to carry on with extracting the details from the pamphlet. My friend said I could remain in his office to carry on with my task, so I settled down to the next section which seemed to deal the sea-farers...........

"Single letters from any seaman in his majesty's navy, or from
        any, sergeant, corporal, soldier, &c. in his majesty's
        service, within any part of his majesty's dominions, on
        his own private concern only, not to be charged more than
        one penny each, to be paid when put into the post-office:-
        the name of the writer, his class or description, and the name
        of the ship, regiment, &c. must be given by himself, and the
        officer actually having the command must sign his name,
        and the name  of the ship, regiment, &c. he commands.
Single letters to any seaman or soldier, &c. under the same
        restrictions to pay one penny each, at the office where
        the letter is put in:- to specify on the superscription the
        class of the person, and the name of the ship, or regiment,
        &c. to which he belongs; such letter not to be delivered to 
        any person but the one to whom it is directed, or to some
        person appointed to receive the same, under the hand writing
        of his commanding officer.
Not to extend to commissioned or warrant officers, midshipmen,
        masters' mates, captains' clerks, or school-masters in the
        navy, or to commissioned or warrant officers in the army."

At this point I decided to call it a day as the light was failing, and from my window's vantage point could see that the rain which had been falling lightly earlier in the day had now developed into a deluge. My friend, WILLIAM BANNING had already returned to his home, so his clerk escorted me to the side door of the Post-Office. Pulling my thick coat collar around my head, I quickly made for home and a Lancashire hot-pot, which I knew would be waiting for me....................................the rest of the Post-Office leaflet will be written up in due course in the warmth of the own fire-side. Hopefully, tomorrow if the weather clears, I will be off on my rambles again, starting with DUKE STREET.................