Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Lanarkshire Postal History"


Mr. Terence Woods


Members of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society viewed a truly fantastic display at their meeting on Friday, 12th February. The speaker was our member, & past president, Terry Woods of Hamilton who is a known expert in the Postal History of Lanarkshire.

He began with Privately carried letters 1666 Biggar to Edinburgh and one from 1703 Lanark to Biggar. At this time it was mainly people of influence who could afford to send letters eg the Duke of Argyll, the Duke of Hamilton, Advocates etc.

In 1740 a letter had the name Hamilton stamped on it and from thereon letters gradually bore the name of the posting source.  In 1785 was the first known name stamp of Lanerk (later this became Lanark).  At this time letters were delivered by a carrier on horseback and later by mailcoach.  In 1801 a mileage mark was applied to the letter as it cost more 5d - to send one 30 50 miles. 

There was a great display of the "first known" name stamps for Holytown, Wilsontown, Douglas, Biggar, Lesmahago (no w), Shotts, Stonehouse, Wishaw and Abington. Sometimes the legend "Too late" was applied this being letters that missed the post that was picked up only twice a week.  

It was not unknown even back then for letters to be "missent"!  One example was that of a letter sent from Campbeltown to Carnwath missent to Lanark.

In 1840, the first postage stamps appeared bearing an illustration of the head of Queen Victoria and this led to postmarks being used to cancel the stamp.  This began with an "obliteration mark" a series of black lines and later the Maltese Cross cancel appeared followed by postmarks bearing a number identifying the post office it was posted at.

In the second round, Terry concentrated on the towns and villages in the districts surrounding Airdrie and Strathaven.  Postmarks through the years were displayed from the post offices, as were examples of Registered Mail and Parcel Post. Members also enjoyed seeing the photographs of many village post offices  eg  Rawyards, Greengairs, Clarkston & Caldercruix in the Airdrie area along with Glassford, Chapelton, Caldermill, Sandford & Drumclog in the Strathaven area. Some of these have now disappeared.

Dr Brian Dow, in giving thanks to Terry Woods, said that altogether this had proved a fascinating evening as all explored the Postal History of this area Lanarkshire and indicated that there is much more to come!

Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is next Friday, 4th March, 2016, at 7:30pm when another of our members, Chris Moffat will give his display of "David Livingstone". 

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.