General Telegraph 6d

Telegraph stamps of Great Britain.

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General Telegraph 6d Electric Telegraph Submarine British English & Irish British & Irish LDTC UK Electric South Eastern Railway London, Chatham and Dover Railway
General Telegraph Electric Telegraph Submarine British Telegraph English & Irish British & Irish London District UK Electric S.E.R. L.C. & D.R.
 
Bonelli Universal Private Telegraph Company National Telephone Company Army Telegraphs-1 Army Telegraphs-2 Railway Telegraph cancel on 10s Post Office Telegraphs Unusual Unexpected Contributions
Bonelli's Universal Tel. National Telephone Army Telegraphs 1 Army Telegraphs 2 Railway Post Office Unusual Unexpected Contributions

 


Prices have been brought up to date, and are for stamps in 'average' condition.  
The currency is now selectable, the default is British Currency (£).
  I have revised Hiscocks' original listing, though leaving references to the original designations. 
The new designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion.
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Submarine Telegraph Company.

Steve Hiscocks wrote:
The company was set up in 1850 to operate submarine lines to France and Belgium. Having no internal lines within the UK the company was not taken
over with the other private companies in 1869/70 and was still handling some 9,000 messages per day ten years later. Stamps were engraved by De la
Rue in November 1861 and presumably issued in December or in January 1862. All are of essentially the same design but separate plates were prepared.
There were 80 stamps to a sheet.


Since they had no lines of their own within the UK, this company needed to work in conjunction with other companies.
Initially it worked closely with the British Telegraph Company, and later with its successor, the British & Irish Telegraph Company,
as well as the London District Telegraph Company. Delivery forms and other stationery exist reflecting their joint operations.

Proofs Stationery

 

It was not until December 1861 that the Submarine Telegraph Company started having stamps printed by De La Rue.
Wove paper, no watermark, sheets of 80 stamps.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 4½d on 8s Submarine Telegraph Co. 4s on 8s
4½d on 8s Provisional Overprint, RH6. 4s on 8s Provisional Overprint, RH7.
Image courtesy of Steve Lawrie. Ex Iain Stevenson, courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.

 

Hiscocks lists the following, Rarities taken from L&H:
Perf.13     (not 14 as sometimes described)

RH # Hisc. Desc. Rarity Mint Used
RH1 H1 4½d deep mauve.Unknown - -
RH1a              '   '   '       Proof.   300.00 -
RH2 H2 3s9d deep mauve.Unknown - -
RH2a              '   '   '       Proof.   300.00 -
RH3 H3 4s deep mauve.Unknown - -
RH3a              '   '   '       Proof.   300.00 -
RH4 H4 7s6d deep mauve.Unknown - -
RH4a              '   '   '       Proof.   300.00 -
RH5 H5 8s deep mauve.R5 - -
RH5a H5a 8s deep mauve. Perf.12½Unlisted - -
RH5b              '   '   '       Proof.   300.00 -
RH6 H6 4½d on 8s deep mauve. Perf.12½ R5 6000.00 -
RH7 H7 4s on 8s deep mauve. Perf.12½R5 - -

Look here for an explanation of the table.


Proofs

The stamps themselves are very scarce, but there are some proofs available:
These two courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
Submarine Telegraph Co. H4 Proof   Submarine Telegraph Co. H4 cut-down proof
The ones below are the centres of proofs like the left one above (half size). The one on the right is cut-down and mounted.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 4½d Proof Submarine Telegraph Co. 3s9d Proof Submarine Telegraph Co. 4s Proof Submarine Telegraph Co. 7s6d Proof Submarine Telegraph Co. 8s Proof
Proof of the 4½d - RH1 Proof of the 3s9d - RH2 Proof of the 4s - RH3 Proof of the 7s6d - RH4 Proof of the 8s - RH5
Proofs courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Submarine Telegraph Co. Proofs
Proofs from the "Lilly Collection" courtesy of Mark Gibson.

 

L&H list these two as rarity R5 (Only known in Official Collections), though these are in private hands.
The one on the right is the only known used example of Submarine Telegraph Company stamps outside of the Royal Philatelic Collection.

Since the company had no inland business and did not compete with the Post Office monopoly, it was not nationalised in the 1869/70 process.
It kept its' lines until 1889 when the government took them over in exchange for rather poor compensation.

 


STC Stationery.

A form with an imprint top-left suggesting 2000 were printed 5 June 1854, Headed Submarine and European Telegraph Companies courtesy of Steve Lawrie. - My Ref. STC-2-1853-1
It lists 3 stations in London, one each in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Gravesend, Chatham, Canterbury, Dover and Deal;
2 in France, Paris and Calais; 2 in Belgium, Brussels and Antwerp.    This was used 6 December 1854 at 43, Regent Circus, Piccadilly, London.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1854 Form
The back is plain.

 

Received Message Form listing.

Provisional Reference Form type Date on form Dates used Size mm. London Offices Other UK Mainland Other Stations In conjunction with
STC-2-1853-1 Received Message - 2 5/6/1854 6/12/54 ???? 4 8 4 European

 

 

I originally thought this was dated 8th November 1869 since it was pre-filled with '186', but it is too primitive to be 1869. - My Ref. STC-BI-1859-1
I am forced to conclude that it was produced in 1859 with the expectation of not being used until 1860 it has the bare minimum on it. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
This was used at the Central Station as 58 Threadneedle Street, London E.C. for a message from Paris in French.
However it does not have "(Removed from 30, Cornhill.)" like the next does.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1859 form - front
There is no list of stations or printers imprint.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1859 form - back
The back has a short disclaimer.

 

This seems to be dated 12 July 1861 used at Central Station at 58 Threadneedle Street, London E.C. for a message from Moscow. - My Ref. STC-BI-1861-1
It is headed "Submarine Telegraph Company in connection with the British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company.",
with "(Removed from 30, Cornhill.)"
below that, and a "Preamble" added at top-left. -  Courtesy of Mark Gibson.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1861 form - front
The bottom lists stations in London but has no printers imprint.

The envelope is also shown.
Submarine Telegraph Co. 1861 form - back
The back has a short disclaimer like the last one.


This seems to be dated 22 March 1864, and is similar to the last. - Courtesy of Mark Gibson. - My Ref. STC-BI-1864-1
It does though have Continental Service information added at both sides and space for the clerk's initials.
This was also used at the Central Station, 58, Threadneedle street, London, EC with "(Removed from 30, Cornhill.)"

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1865 form - front

Now the bottom again lists stations in London but also adds "all the offices of the London District Telegraph Company".
and has a printers' imprint "R. Clarke, Printer, 51, Threadneedle Street, and White Hart Court, Bishopsgate Street".

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1865 form - back
The disclaimer on the back is now longer with a reference to an anonymous secretary.

 

This seems to be dated 8th August 1865, and is very similar to the last. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. - My Ref. STC-BI-1865-1
The font of the Company name is now without the serifs, and a printers imprint has been added at the bottom.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1865 form - front

Now the bottom again lists stations in London but also adds "all the offices of the London District Telegraph Company".
and has a printers' imprint "R. Clarke, Printer, 51, Threadneedle Street, and White Hart Court, Bishopsgate Street".

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1865 form - back
The disclaimer on the back is now longer with a reference to an anonymous secretary.

 

Unusually, this is clearly dated 14th October 1866, but otherwise similar to above. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. - My Ref. STC-BI-1866-1
This was used at St. Helier, Jersey (Channel Islands) for a telegram from Guernesey written in French.
No reference to 30, Cornhill.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1866 Jersey form - front
The bottom gives the opening hours for the stations at St. Helier and Gorey, as well as the same printers imprint.

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1866 Jersey form - back
The back has the same disclaimer as the last..

 

This seems to be dated 24th December 1869. it is similar to earlier ones, but printed in black. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie. - My Ref. STC-BI-1869-1
There is nothing on the back, with the previous disclaimer being moved to the bottom of the front, in place of the list of London Offices.
This was used at the London Office - 58 Threadneedle Street, London E.C. for a message from Jersey.
Submarine Telegraph Co. 1869 form - front

Received Message Form listing (printed in green except for last).

Provisional Reference Form type Date on form Dates used Size mm. London Offices Other UK Mainland Other Stations Printer Changes In conjunction with
STC-BI-1859-1 Received Message 186_ 8/11/1859 ???? 1 - - - - British & Irish Magnetic
STC-BI-1861-1 Received Message 186_ 12/7/1861 ???? 12 - - - "Preamble" added British & Irish Magnetic
STC-BI-1864-1 Received Message 186_ 22/3/1864 ???? 12 + LDTC - 5 - LDTC offices added BIM & LDTC
STC-BI-1865-1 Received Message 186_ 8/8/1865 ???? 12 + LDTC - 5 R. Clarke R. Clarke, Printer, added BIM & LDTC
STC-BI-1866-1 Received Message 186_ 14/10/1866 ???? 1 - 6 R. Clarke Jersey Version British & Irish Magnetic
STC-BI-1869-1 Received Message 186_ 24/12/1869 ???? 1 - - R. Clarke Printed in black, nothing on the back. British & Irish Magnetic

 

Envelopes.

- My Ref. STC-Env-1852-1
Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope
This cover is dated 25/2/1852, only a few months after the Dover/Calais submarine cable was opened on 25th September 1851.
Courtesy Gavin Littaur.

 

The back of an 1858 delivery envelope showing "SUBMARINE TELEGRAPH COMPANY" on cachet and seal.

Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope


Envelope, courtesy of Dr Mark Gibson.


The front is unfortunately missing the stamp,
but it does give us a date for this type.
It is similar to the 1852 example, but is
missing the Station and date information.
Submarine Telegraph Co. seal
Submarine Telegraph Co. seal
Closeup of other seals.
courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope

Langmead & Huggins note (Pg.16) that "Sometimes Electric Telegraph Company envelopes are found sealed with the seal of the Submarine Telegraph Company."
This has a Cornhill backstamp. The Submarine Telegraph Company initially had its Head Office and an 'Instrument Room' at 30, Cornhill.
The Electric Telegraph Company had offices at 27, Cornhill.

 

- My Ref. STC-Env-1858-1
Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1858 - front   Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1858 - back
Circa 1858 type - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

- My Ref. STC-Env-1861-1
Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1861 - front   Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1861 - back
Circa 1861 type (see form above) - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

- My Ref. STC-Env-1865-1
Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1865? - front   Submarine Telegraph Co. delivery envelope circa 1865? - back
Circa 1865 type (matches one described by L&H) - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

 

Provisional Reference Date on form Date used size mm. front print colour Logo on flap ? Comments
STC-Env-1852-1 185_ 25/2/1852 ???? red ? Space for station name and date on the front
STC-Env-1858-1 - 19/10/58 ???? red Yes Logo in green on the back flap.
STC-Env-1861-1 - - ???? green No  
STC-Env-1865-1 - 8/8/1865 ???? yellow-green No 'Telegram' instead of 'Telegraphic Despatch'

The last matches the one that L & H list. They say it contained a form dated 8 August 1865.

Langmead & Huggins also list a number of forms signed by George Saward, but I have listed those under the British Telegraph Company since they are of that style.
and he worked for that company. George Saward though was instrumental in the formation of the Atlantic Telegraph Company and the laying of the transatlantic cable.

A receipt of 25 September 1856 courtesy of Edward Coombes - My Ref. BTC_W3{3/8/55}

Submarine Telegraph Co. 1856 receipt
The top-left suggests that this is one of 60,000 printed 3/8/1855. This is listed under the BTC because of the similarity of form numbering.

 

 

After the G.P.O. takeover.

Since the Submarine Telegraph Company had no lines of its own within the U.K., it was not absorbed by the Post Office that
completed takeover of the private telegraph companies by 5 February 1870.

A form used 22 May 1874 at London, for a message from Bucarest - courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
This is very similar to the form of 1869 shown above except for the first couple of lines reading "Received Form. - Continental Telegram" at the top and
"Post Office and Submarine Telegraphs." The message is also printed on blue tape rather than hand-written. Interesting use of 'VV' in place of 'W'.

PO & Submarine Telegraph Co. 1874 form
The imprint of "R. Clarke, Printer, 51, Threadneedle Street, and White Hart Court, Bishopsgate Street" can be made out at the bottom.

 

A very different form used 30 May 1871 in Belfast - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
This is has a prominent coat of arms at the top and is printed by Waterlow and Sons, London.

PO & Submarine Telegraph Co. 1871 Dublin form

 

A similar form to the last, but used 2 December 1874 in Killyleagh, County Down, also in Ireland. - Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
The coat of arms at the top now looks a lot more relaxed. A similar telegram used 8 November 1871 in Woodbridge, Suffolk also had this coat of arms.

PO & Submarine Telegraph Co. 1874 form

 

 

 

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Last updated 27th. June 2021

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