Southern African Mails, Routes, Rates and Regulations 1806–1916

Brian Trotter RDP FRPSL

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This well illustrated 600-page book, as well as featuring postal history, provides an overview of the main routes, rates and regulations.

Covering all the territories of Southern Africa, the book begins in 1806 with the Second British Occupation of the Cape of Good Hope and ends in 1916. This ranges from the period when the first postal system was available to the public to a time when the postage routes, rates, and regulations in Southern Africa were well developed.

Brian Trotter RDP Hon. FRPSL

Objective of the Book

With collectors of postal history in mind, this book provides an overview of the main routes, rates and regulations of the Southern African territories 1806 – 1916.

It is not intended to be a comprehensive study of these routes, rates and regulations.

Scope and Structure A considerable amount has been published on the postal history of the various Southern African territories, with much of it focussing primarily on the post offices and post office cancellers used.

This work is intended to provide an overview of the main postage rates for letters and postcards, along with some of the main postal regulations affecting them.

It includes the tax marks and touches only briefly on explanatory marks of all of the Southern African territories up to and beyond 1910, which was the year when the Union of South Africa was formed.

Time Period of 1806 – 1916 The starting point is straightforward in so much as the Second British Occupation of the Cape of Good Hope took place in 1806.

The end point of 1916 represents the time period when all the postage routes, rates and regulations were well developed and somewhat stable.

By 1916 surface mails were efficiently running, but the advent of airmail had not yet begun the major wave of change to the whole structure and concept of transporting the mails.

Brian collects All aspects of Southern Africa, postage stamps, postage due stamps, postal history, revenue stamps and documents, airmails and postal stationery.

However, postal history is the only one that covers all of Southern Africa, the others only being for specific territories.

He has exhibited at national and international level, and been awarded several gold and large gold medals for various different exhibits, as well as being an accredited national and international philatelic judge and has written numerous articles, booklets and a major book about the Edwardian stamps of the South African Colonies.

Other roles have included being the Hon Secretary and subsequently the President of The Royal Philatelic Society London, Chairman of the British Philatelic Trust, Chairman of the London 2010 International Philatelic Exhibition, Chairman of the British National Exhibitions Committee and Chairman of the FIP Traditional Philately Commission.

He is a signatory of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists, and a Fellow of The Royal Philatelic Society London.

Southern African Territories
Objective of the Book
Scope and Structure
Duplication of Information
Time Period of 1806 – 1916
The Cape Colony Almanac
Words and Spelling Used
Place Names
Section 1
Southern Africa 1806 to 1916
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Southern African Territories
1.3 Summary of Southern African Territories
1.4 Some Individuals of Note
1.5 Chronology of Main Events
Section 2
Postal Unions Affecting Southern Africa
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Evolution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU)
2.3 UPU Membership Dates of Southern African Territories
2.4 Relevant UPU Convention Articles
2.5 The South African Postal Convention
2.6 The Imperial Penny Post
2.7 End Note
Section 3
Main Southern African Postal Routes
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Evolution of the Postal Arrangements
3.3 Cape Colony Postal Development
3.4 Cape Colony Main Internal Postal Routes
3.5 Natal Postal Development
3.6 Natal Main Internal Postal Routes
3.7 Orange Free State Postal Development
3.9 Transvaal Postal Development
3.10 Transvaal Main Internal Postal Routes
3.11 Bechuanaland and Rhodesia Postal Development
3.12 Bechuanaland and Rhodesia Internal Postal Routes
3.13 Regional Postal Development
3.14 The Cape Colony, The Orange Free State, and Natal
3.15 The Transvaal, the Bechuanalands and Rhodesia
3.16 Other South African Territories
3.17 Travelling Post Offices
3.18 Overseas Ocean Mail Routes
3.19 End Notes
Section 4
Cape Colony – Southern African Postage Rates
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Internal Letter Rates Based on Distance
4.3 Uniform Internal Letter Rates
4.4 The 1d Internal Local Letter Rate
4.5 Regional Letters
4.6 Letter Rates to Districts of Natal and Orange River Sovereignty
4.7 Letter Rates to Natal
4.8 Letter Rates to the Orange Free State
4.9 Letter Rates to the Transvaal (South African Republic)
4.10 Letter Rates to the Bechuanaland Protectorate
4.11 Letter Rates to Rhodesia
4.12 Letter Rates to Other Territories
4.13 Cape Colony Postcard Postage Rates
4.14 Cape Colony Printed Matter Postage Rates
4.15 Summary of Postage Rates
4.16 End Notes
Section 5
Cape Colony – Overseas Postage Rates
5.1 The Rates
5.2 Introduction
5.3 Cape Colony Port Charges
5.4 Ship Letter Postage Rates to Britain
5.5 Packet Letter Postage Rates to Britain
5.6 Advent of the Colonial Mail Packet
5.7 Common Letter Rates After 1876
5.8 Letters Carried on Royal Navy Vessels
5.9 Summary of Letter Rates to Britain
5.10 Letter Rates to Other Destinations via Britain
5.11 Overview of Letter Rates via Britain
5.12 Letter Rates to Europe via France
5.13 Letter Rates Directly to Other Destinations
5.14 Overseas Postcards
5.15 Overseas Printed Matter Postage Rates
5.16 Accountancy and Accountancy Marks
5.17 End Notes
Section 6
Cape Colony – Other Regulations and Charges
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Optional Prepayment
6.3 Registration Fees
6.4 Late Fees
6.5 Acknowledgement of Receipt
6.6 Express Delivery
6.7 Redirection and Reposting
6.8 Returned Letters
6.9 Official Mail
6.10 Masters of Vessels Paid 1d per Ship Letter
6.11 Forwarding Agents
6.12 Consignees Mail
6.13 Ocean Post Offices
6.14 Telegram Letter and Confirmation Charges
6.15 Miscellaneous Regulations
Section 7
Cape Colony Unpaid and Underpaid Mail
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Administration of Postage Deficient Mail
7.3 Unpaid and Underpaid Letter Regulations
7.4 Summary of the Regulations
7.5 Introduction to Charge Marks
7.6 Manuscript Charge Marks
7.7 Handstamped Charge Marks
7.8 The 4d Overseas (or Port) Charge Mark
7.9 Cape Town Sterling Tax Handstamps
7.10 Cape Town Centime Tax Handstamps
7.11 Other Cape Town Charge Procedures
7.12 Tax Handstamps of Other Towns
7.13 Miscellaneous Tax Marks
Section 8
Natal Postage Rates
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Internal Letter Rates
8.3 Regional Letters
8.4 Letter Rates to the Cape Colony
8.5 Letter Rates to the Orange Free State
8.6 Letter Rates to the Transvaal
8.7 Letter Rates to the Bechuanalands and Rhodesia
8.8 Letter Rates to Other Territories
8.9 Summary of Southern African Letter Rates
8.10 Letter Rates to Britain
8.11 Summary of British Letter Rates
8.12 Letter Rates to Other Countries
8.13 Natal Postcard Postage Rates
8.14 Printed Matter Postage Rates
8.15 Madagascar Mail and Natal
8.16 End Notes
Section 9
Natal Regulations and Charge Marks
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Registration Fees
9.3 Late Fees
9.4 Advice of Receipt
9.5 Redirection
9.6 Returned Letters
9.7 Unpaid and Underpaid Mail
9.8 Charge Marks
9.9 Tax Marks
9.10 End Notes
Section 10
Orange Free State Postage Rates
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Internal Letter Rates
10.3 Regional Letters
10.4 Rates to the Cape Colony
10.5 Rates to Natal
10.6 Rates to the Transvaal
10.7 Letter Rates to the Bechuanalands and Rhodesia
10.8 Letter Rates to Other Territories
10.9 Summary of Southern African Letter Rates
10.10 Letter Rates to Britain
10.11 Summary of Letter Rates to Britain
10.12 Letter Rates to Other Countries
10.13 Postcard Rates
10.14 Orange Free State Printed Matter Postage Rates
10.15 End Notes
Section 11
Orange Free State Regulations and Charge Marks
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Registration Fees
11.3 Late Fees and Late Letters
11.4 Redirection
11.5 Returned Letters
11.6 Other Services
11.7 Unpaid and Underpaid Mail
11.8 Charge Marks
11.9 End Notes
Section 12
Transvaal Postage Rates
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Internal Letter Rates
12.3 Regional Letters
12.4 Rates to the Cape Colony
12.5 Rates to Natal
12.6 Rates to the Orange Free State
12.7 Letter Rates to the Bechuanalands and Rhodesia
12.8 Letter Rates to Other Territories
12.9 Summary of Southern African Letter Rates
12.10 Letter Rates to Britain
12.11 Summary of Letter Rates to Britain
12.12 Letter Rates to Other Countries
12.13 Postcard Rates
12.14 Transvaal Printed Matter Postage Rates
12.15 Mozambique Mail and the Transvaal
12.16 End Notes
Section 13
Transvaal Regulations and Charge Marks
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Registration Fees
13.3 Late Fees and Late Letters
13.4 Redirection
13.5 Returned Letters
13.6 Other Services
13.7 Unpaid and Underpaid Mail Regulations
13.8 The Charge Marks
13.9 Travelling Post Office (TPO) Tax Marks
13.10 Other Charge Procedures
13.11 Adhesive Postage Due Stamps
13.12 End Notes
Section 14
Bechuanaland and Rhodesian Mails
14.1 Introduction
14.2 British Bechuanaland
14.3 Bechuanaland Protectorate
14.4 Rhodesia
14.5 British Central Africa
14.6 End Notes
Section 15
Union of South Africa 1910 to 1916
15.1 Introduction
15.2 Political Union
15.3 The Post Office Act of 1911
15.4 Summary of Charges and Fees
15.5 Colonial Regulations Continued in Use
15.6 Changed Postage Due Regulations
15.7 The First World War
Section 16
Military Mail of Southern Africa
16.1 Introduction
16.2 The Cape Colony
16.3 Natal
16.4 Other Territories
16.5 Conflicts from 1876 to 1899
16.6 The Anglo Boer War of 1899 – 1902
16.7 Conflicts from 1902 to 1916
16.8 Soldiers Letter Summary
16.9 End Notes
Auction Catalogues
Unpublished References

Review by John Shaw MBE FRPSL and President of the South African Collectors Society:

This is the second major philatelic book by the author, the first being on the “Edwardians” of the four provinces which, in 1910, merged to form the Union; that book was a natural and fitting sequel to the marvellous book by John Easton on the De La Rue commonwealth stamps up to 1900, and this latest book is of the same high standard.

In 16 sections it covers, as the title states, the routes, rates and regulations of letters and postcards of southern Africa from the chaos and uncertainty of 1806 to the relative stability of 1916. The geographical coverage is southern Africa, as far north as the Rhodesias and Mozambique, but excluding Angola.

Again, the author divides the book into logical groups each of one or two sections so that the reader of, say, Natal has everything to hand about Natal contained in that group and does not have to cross reference other sections, and I quite happily live with the fact there is inevitably some small duplication of information.

Apart from the listings of postal rates there are frequent references to important players in southern Africa and the influence they had on events; this, and the chronological listings of important events is both fascinating and extremely useful. Brian states the book is not an in-depth study, but more an overview; however, with 572 pages, it is more than that, and the author weaves a wonderful tapestry of the development of southern Africa which has enhanced my knowledge and appreciation of the country I collect. It is a valued reference book in my own library.

The book is profusely illustrated, including wonderful covers and is a high quality production. One cover has a personal touch, being sent by Gordon Trotter, Brian’s great uncle, who lived most of his life in Vryheid a small town which over a period of 25 years was in four different countries! It started existence in the New Republic, then became part of the Transvaal, was later ceded to Natal and, in 1910 became part of the Union of South Africa – what a wonderful story! Serious collectors, especially those relatively new to the subject, would find this an invaluable addition to their libraries.

The book has been awarded the FEPA literature medal for research in 2017, and a large gold medal and the Grand Prix at the Verona International Philatelic Literature Exhibition in 2018.

Sample Pages