Today in Postal History
This card is from the very first mail
a heavier-than-air craft in Great Britain.
It was prepared as a promotional card to be sent out
by The Empire Illustrated, a monthly tariff reform newspaper.
A number of cards were prepared and
carried on a
flight flown by Claude Grahame-White on August 20.
The flight was planned to be from Blackpool to Southport, a distance of about 15 miles.
Blackpool is on the coast of the Irish Sea northwest of Manchester.
Southport is on the coast south across the Ribble.
Bad weather caused the flight to be
abandoned after about 7
I do not know where the landing was made (7 miles directly
south would have had the plane landing in the Ribble).
The cards were then mailed from London on
August 26 to the
The card is franked with a 1902 1 d.
scarlet King Edward VII
There is a London W. C. machine cancel similar to a Columbia with
only three straight lines for a 'dial' and 6 bars for a killer.
The destination of the card was Upper
There is a Parkstone northeast of Poole.
It appears to have both a Lower and an Upper Parkstone.
There is a second London CDS for August 27.
That could have indicated that the mail was outbound thereafter.
The back has a message in printed script
"THE EMPIRE ILLUSTRATED"Dear Sir,
67, Long Acre, W. C.
This card will interest you, and will
be of historic value, as it was carried in the
first "Aeroplane Mail", from Blackpool To Southport, by Mr. Grahame-White. A detailed description of the Experiment with full illustrations will appear in the "Empire Illustrated", the illustrated Monthly Tariff Reformer Paper, price 3d. which every
Tariff Reformer should read, digest, and
send to a Free Trader
There is an additional note written at the
"We have a few more of these cards, price 2d. each."
As a result of the shortened flight, a
prepared and stamped over the message on the back:
First Aerial Mail
Although boisterous weather
conditions prevented the experiment
being carried out in its entirety,
this card was carried by Aeroplane
for over seven miles in a very
Some specialists consider these cards to
be the first UK
preceding the first official airmail (Coronation flights of 1911) by a year.
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