Today in Postal History


British Central Africa to Channel Islands
March 4, 1895

This registered postal stationery envelope was posted from Fort Rhodesia in
North East Rhodesia administered as part of British Central Africa at this time.
Fort Rhodesia was on the southeast shore of Mwero
lake on the northwest border of present-day Zambia.

The cover is attributed to Poulett Weatherley who dated the cover
and added his initials in the lower left corner of the front.
Poulett Weatherley was an explorer of this area in the 1890s.
Can someone can add information on his journeys?

The addressee, W. A. Toplis,  was a Victorian artist.*

The envelope was a British South Africa Company
2d provisionally uprated to 4d by manuscript.
The TWO PENCE  in the ribbon has been crossed out and 4d and some initials added below.

Three 1892 4d British South Africa chestnut and black
stamps (SG 22) were added to satisfy the rate requirements.
They are tied by the RHODESIA | B.C.A. CDS and two pen strokes.

From Fort Rhodesia the letter traveled to Abercorn
(present-day Mbala; formerly Zombe; renamed Abercorn to avoid confusion with Zomba*)
at the south end of Lake Tanganyika.
Zombe was first settled in 1893 as headquarters of the Tanganyika District.*
The letter arrived at Abercorn on March 22.

The next stop was Fife (present-day Isoka?) about 150 km
west of the north end of Lake Nyassa (Lake Malawi).
It received a transit mark there on April 1.

It then proceeded to Lake Nyassa where it was put aboard a
steam launch for transport to the south end of the lake.
To this point the carriage had been by runner.

Its next stop was Fort Johnston (present-day Mangochi
in Malawi) at the south end of Lake Nyassa.
It arrived there on April 14.

At Fort Johnston the mail was placed aboard another boat for the trip down
the Shire River to Chinde in Portuguese territory at the mouth of the Zambesi.

A British clearing office was opened in Chinde in 1891
which passed mail in sealed bags from the inland
British colonies to British or German Mail steamers.

The next transit mark is an oval London registry transit on June 22.

The destination was Serk (now Sark) about 15 km southeast of Guernsey.
There is no indication of when it arrived there.

What a journey!

*Thanks to Jim Whitford-Stark for identifying the addressee.
Thanks also to Peter for details and spelling correction concerning Abercorn.


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