These days we are told a First Class stamp means next day delivery but here’s a postcard – bearing the image of Queen Victoria – that was posted in India at 6.45 am on February 12th 1902 and arrived in Bath at noon on March the 2nd.
Considering mail today can take between 7 and ten days – door to door – an 18 day delivery for something bearing an image of the Empress of India was quite something.
This postcard has been given to me by a Bath Newseum regular called Steve. It bears a photograph of the battered remains of the Residency in Lucknow. The town was one of the major centres of the Indian Mutiny of 1857 which – as far as Indian history is concerned – is regarded as the first war of independence.
A garrison – based at the Residency ( the local government office) – were besieged for 87 days before being relieved at great cost to human life.
There were British and Indian troops stationed in the grounds – with their families. Eighteen out of 232 women and 58 out of 271 children died during the siege and evacuation – either through shell fire or disease.
Today the ruins are preserved as a ‘Memorial Museum’. India gained independence in August 1947.
The postcard was addressed to Mr Fred Sheppard – c/o The Post Office, Swainswick, Bath, Somerset, England.
The message: ‘Just a card from Lucknow to send you a picture of the place where the awful scenes took place in 1857 during the mutiny. Kind remembrance to your father and mother. R.R.”
Does it ring any bells?