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
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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.



The Post Office Telephone Service.


Shortcuts to different sections:
Telephone Cancels Telephone Stationery Telephone stamps



My notes:
Incorporated 10th March 1881 from a merger of The Telephone Company Ltd (using the Bell patent) with the Edison Telephone Company Ltd.
Additionally it merged with the UTC and with the Lancashire and Cheshire Telephone Company in 1889 creating a much wider coverage.
According to Raymond Lister (1961) "in 1880 it was decided by a Court of law that a telephone was practically a telegraph." That put them in the domain of the Post Office monopoly.
Though having the legal right to close down the existing telephone companies, the Post Office did not initially have the resources to replace them. It therefore issued licenses to them instead.
The National Telephone therefore operated under license from the Post Office which charged 10% normally and 50% for use of their Trunk (inter-city) lines.
The Post Office took control of most of their operation at the beginning of 1912.


Telephone Cancels.

Telephone Rooms.

Courtesy John A. McCulloch, © 2010 ARR. Courtesy John A. McCulloch, © 2010 ARR. Courtesy of David Pleiksna. Courtesy of Ian Pinwill.
Telephone Room Belfast Telephone Room Newcastle Newcastle  on Tyne Telephone Exchange Newport Docks Telephone Exchange
The Telephone Room, Belfast The Telephone Room, Newcastle-on-Tyne Newcastle on Tyne Telephone Room Newport Docks Telephone Exchange

The last shows the use of a cloth over the cancelling device to retain ink and reduce the frequency of ink-pad use. A trick used in busy stamping environments.

One of mine. Courtesy of Chris Potts.
Telephone Room Belfast Telephone Room Brighton
The Telephone Room, Belfast The Telephone Room, Brighton


Telephone Dept.

Courtesy John A. McCulloch, © 2010 ARR. Courtesy Chris Potts.
Telephone Dept. P.O. Cork Telephone Dept. P.O. Cork
The Telephone Dept. P.O. Cork The Telephone Dept. P.O. Cork




Telephone Stationery.


Telephone Leominster 1913 bill
The front of the form is very similar to that of the earlier
National Telephone Company forms.

It is headed "Trunk, Telegram and Junction Fees."
"Junction Fees" are perhaps Local Connection charges.

The large red "C" at top-right probably has importance, though
I do not yet know what it is.
At top-left there is what looks like a mostly erased "Telephone",
perhaps a vestige of an earlier form.

Payment can be made to the District Manager or at any Post Office.

It relates to No. 29 on the Leominster Exchange,
and is dated February 1913.

The bottom is imprinted "Sch. No. 1219. / Telephones 19-8-12".
Payment is requested within 7 days.

Images courtesy of Edward Coombes.
The back is mostly plain, though someone has written :
"27 March 1913 / Telephone Calls / 3s 3d" on it.

The printed part (as can be seen through the front)
is shown larger below :

It is O. H. M. S. with authority of the "Post Office"
with "LEOMINSTER" in red and cancelled "MAR 26 13"
Telephone Leominster 1913 bill




Telephone Service Receipt form "Telephones.—No. 64." used at Girvan 17 November 1913 and forwarded to Glasgow.
Telephone Girvan 1913 receipt - front
Telephone Girvan 1913 receipt - back

This was for 3s8d which was paid by the use of mixed-reign postage stamps. — Images courtesy of Epsom & Ewell Philatelic Society.
(click image to see their telephone article).


Telephone MX12 bill
A letter sending a cheque for 8/- to pay for charges on Mx12. A P.O receipt for that amount has been
attached and it was presumably returned. Image courtesy of Edward Coombes.
Telephone MX12 receipt A closeup of the receipt shows it is an Official PO Telephones receipt for  
Sheffield. The imprint is "Tp. No. 1044 / (Late Telephones. No. 153.)"

It says "No receipt will be recognised unless given on the official form."
That may be due to a reqirement of the notice below :

"Exempt from Stamp Duty under the Stamp. Act, 1891."

Dated 25 January 1917
The receipt shown above was in response to a cheque received in the post.
For those that simply walked into a Post Office to pay the bill, a different receipt was used, as shown below.

This has an ornate Coat of Arms and imprint of "T.—No. 1018 / (Late Tp. —64)."
It has the same exemption, but a different Act specification, now "Act 44 and 45 Vic., Cap. 20, Sec. 5."
Hand-stamped Falkirk 14 February 1917. The "(Late Tp. —64)" relates to the green Girvan form 64 above.

Telephone Falkirk receipt
Image courtesy of Edward Coombes.


Payment documents relating to a bill for the last Quarter of 1925.

Telephone Quarterly bill - DM4
Quarterly non-local call account for No.14 on Aylsham Exchange totalling £4-0-7d as of end of 1925, on form D.M.4. (District Manager ?)
Image (shown 80% scale) courtesy of Edward Coombes.
Telephone Quarterly bill - DM3
Payment request for £2-2-6d subscription, plus 126 local calls at 1d each(10/6d), plus non-local calls on the D.M.4. for a total of £6-13-7d.
This is form D.M.3. (Rev. 265070/23.) dated 12 January 1926. A note at the bottom describes payment (within 7-days) options.
The large "A" at the top probably has a significance!    -  Image (shown 80% scale) courtesy of Edward Coombes.
Telephone Late payment fine
This describes a new fine of 5/-, effectively a re-connection fee, on those who delay payment to the point of disconnection.
It has an imprint "(55756) Wt.20490—S.45 H.St. G.148" implying it was printed by H.M. Stationery Office, Harrow.
Image (shown 80% scale) courtesy of Edward Coombes.
Telephone 1926 Receipt
A receipt for £6-13-7d paid a week after the due date at Aylesham MO & SB, "fashionably late" on 22 January 1926.
The receipt is very similar to that of 1917 shown above, except the "(Late Tp. —64)." has been removed. and the Coat of Arms is a bit more elaborate.
Image courtesy of Edward Coombes.

It would seem that the threat of a 5/- fine had little effect.
But then how late did they have to be, before being cut off?



Telephone Stamps.

Hiscocks added the following 2 notes:

Note 1. These stamps may be used for payment of telephone accounts and
              are hand cancelled on presentation at Post Offices or Telephone Offices.
              The GPO is reticent about what happens to them next but they are
              presumably checked centrally and subsequently destroyed.
              They are not available genuinely used.
Note 2. Cards on which they may be collected as a form of saving towards
              telephone bills are available from Post Offices.

My Note: The telegraph stamps were not supposed to have been available used either, but the GPO staff are only human.
Some apparently genuine used examples are shown below.


1979 (29 January) White wove paper. No watermark. Perf. 15 x 14½(£1) and 14½ x 15(£5).

Post Office Telephone £1 stamp Post Office Telephone £5 stamp
Type 1  -  RH1 Type 2  -  RH2

Hiscocks Type 1 and Type 2
Forgeries of the £5 are known, they are perforated 12½ x 13 with brighter colours.


RH # Hisc. Type. 1979 - 81 ? Description Mint Used
RH1 H1 1 £1 deep olive, lime green, black and gold 3.00 -
RH2 H2 2 £5 brown, crimson, yellow, black and gold (28/8/79) 18.00 -


British Telecommunications, trading as British Telecom, severed its links with the Post Office under the British Telecommunications Act, 1981 and became a totally separate public corporation on 1st October 1981.
They were now two separate organisations with their own chairmen and boards of directors.


1985 Telephone £1 + £5 stamps
Type 3  -  RH3 Type 4  -  RH4

Images of Type 3 and Type 4 courtesy of Martin Robinson (Mareval2 on ebay).
Harrison and Sons produced these by photogravure. The £5 has the unusual feature of individual serial numbers.
Despite all the security features, forgeries were again produced of the £5 and these were withdrawn 13 February 1987.
I have no details of the forgeries. The originals are perf.14

RH # Hisc. Type. 1985 Description Mint Used
RH3 - 3 £1 pale blue and mauve (1985) 18.00 -
RH4 - 4 £5 yellow, green, blue and black (1985) 90.00 -



Post Office Telephone - RH5 Post Office Telephone - RH6 Post Office Telephone - RH7
Type 5  -  RH5 Type 6  -  RH6 Type 7  -  RH7
1987 mage courtesy of Jeff Turnbull. 1990 and 1992 images courtesy of Mark Talbot.


RH # Hisc. Type. 1987 - 1992 ? Description Mint Used
RH5 - 5 £1 bright purple and pale lilac (1987) 12.00 -
RH6 - 6 £1 emerald, pale blue-green and pale blue (1990) 9.00 -
RH7 - 7 £1 blue, silver and red-brown (1992 ?) 12.00 -


Post Office 1993 stamp Post Office 1993 variant
Type 8  -  RH8 - courtesy of Mark Talbot. Type 8  -  RH8a - courtesy of John Barefoot.

1993. John Barefoot indicates that the security punch hole is consistently placed.
For the other images I have, that is true. For this some however, it looks like the sheet was rotated 180° when punched.
John Barefoot's image has the security punch hole at the bottom-left.
I do not know the relative scarcity of the two types.

RH # Hisc. Type. 1993 ? Description Mint Used
RH8 - 8 £2 pink, pale green-grey, blue and grey (1993) 6.00 -
RH8a - 8        security punch at bottom-left 6.00 -


Post Office 1994 stamp Post Office 1994 variant
Type 9  -  RH9 - courtesy of Mark Talbot.
RH # Hisc. Type. 1994 ? Description Mint Used
RH9 - 9 £2 pale blue, grey and black (1994 ?) 6.00 -
RH9a - 9        security punch at bottom-left 6.00 -
Type 9  -  RH9a - courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.


Post Office 1996 stamp Post Office 1996? stamp dated 1995
Type 10  -  RH10 (with training bars) Type 10  -  RH10 (used 1995)

1995? Image with training bars, courtesy of Mark Talbot, together with a used one of mine dated April 1995.
For those interested in the workings of the PO Training school, there is a PDF covering the period from 1920 to about 1970.
An additional star punch hole has been added.

RH # Hisc. Type. 1995 ? Description Mint Used
RH10 - 10 £2 blue-grey and blue (1995 ?) 6.00 -


Post Office 1995 stamp Post Office 1995 stamp used 1997
Type 11  -  RH11 Type 11  -  RH11 (used 24 March 1997 in Barrhead, Scotland)

1996? Mint image courtesy of Mark Talbot, together with a used one of mine that seems to be dated March 1997.

RH # Hisc. Type. 1996 ? Description Mint Used
RH11 - 11 £2 blue-grey, grey, mauve and pale blue (1996 ?) 6.00 -

Here are some examples used in a telephone card with the stamps cancelled in 1996.
The card is shown half normal size with inside followed by outside. The cancel is shown twice normal size underneath.

Post Office 1996 card - inside

Post Office 1996 card - outside

Post Office 1996 card - cancel On the back it says "This card can only be accepted if all the
sections below have been completed."
Clearly they have not been. Perhaps there was a full card
accompanying it that had the details filled in.
The cancel appears to be dated 17 April 1996.
Used in Wilmslow, Cheshire.




Post Office 1997 stamp Post Office 1997 stamp - used
Type 12  -  RH12   courtesy of Mark Talbot Type 12  -  RH12 (used in Dartford, December 1998)


RH # Hisc. Type. 1997 ? Description Mint Used
RH12 - 12 £2 brown, mauve and pale grey (1997 ?) 6.00 -


Post Office 1999? stamp Post Office 2000 stamp
Type 13  -  RH13 - courtesy of Mark Talbot. Type 13  -  RH13a - courtesy of Jeff Turnbull. - star punch-hole raised, vertical strip changed, and "Saturn" punch-hole changed orientation

Whilst RH8a and RH9a could be accidental, or the result of non-specification, this last has to be a deliberate change.
John Barefoot suggests that all of these variants are deliberate changes for security reasons. If that is true, then there should be many more such variants.
I would welcome images of any new discoveries.

RH # Hisc. Type. 1998 ? Description Mint Used
RH13 - 13 £5 pale blue, grey and silver (1998 ?) 24.00 -
RH13a - 13        security punch holes changed 24.00 -



Wording changed to "Payment Stamp".

Post Office 1998 stamp Post Office 1999? stamp
Type 14  -  RH14 (1998) - courtesy of John Barefoot. Type 15  -  RH15 - "Swimathon" - courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.


RH # Hisc. Type. 1998 - 1999 ? Description Mint Used
RH14 - 14 £2 blue, grey and salmon (1998?) 6.50 -
RH15 - 15 £2 purple, pale blue and grey (1999 ?) 18.00 -



Post Office 2000 stamp Post Office Global Challenge - a stamp Post Office Global Challenge - b stamp
Type 16  -  RH16 - "world's toughest yacht race" - courtesy of Jeff Turnbull. Types 17 and 18  -  RH17 and RH18 - "Global Challenge" - images from the same BT card photograph - courtesy of Jeff Turnbull.

RH # Hisc. Type. 2000 ? Description Mint Used
RH16 - 16 £5 pale blue, dark blue and grey (2000 ?) 25.00 -
RH17 - 16 £5 pale blue, dark blue and brownish grey (2000 ?) 25.00 -
RH18 - 16 £5 pale blue, dark blue and grey (2000 ?) 25.00 -


The use of Telephone Savings Stamps was discontinued in 2000.
A timeline on the Evolution of British Post Office Telephones


Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.


Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 4th. January 2024

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