About Us

Our Meetings

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Society Officers

Our Syllabus


Barnsley Postal History

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Town Hall, Barnsley.

This site was last updated on 11th December 2017


Barnsley Philatelic Society was founded on 7 January 1944 and offers stamp collectors in and around Barnsley friendly and informal meetings, opportunities to buy and exchange material, and regular meetings where members can see varied displays and meet fellow collectors. We welcome both beginners and experienced stamp collectors and postal historians. Our experienced collectors are always ready to help new collectors to develop and improve their collections with advice, to answer questions and try to solve philatelic problems.

We are affiliated to the Association of British Philatelic Societies (ABPS) and the Yorkshire Philatelic Association (YPA), and our members enjoy the additional benefits this brings in discounts from certain philatelic suppliers and participation in national and regional exhibitions and conventions.

Our Annual Subscription is: £6 (Juniors 20p)


Visitors are always welcome at our meetings. If you are a stamp collector why not come along and find out more about our Society? See our Syllabus below for details of our meetings.

We meet at the Friends Meeting House, Huddersfield Road (corner of Western Street and Huddersfield Road) Barnsley S70 2BP, at 7.15pm (displays start at 7.30pm) on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.


Our Hon Secretary: Mr Nigel Harpham,
35 Queens Avenue, Barnsley, S75 2AZ
Telephone: 01226 930164
Email: nigelharpham@yahoo.co.uk


President: Mrs J Fearons

Vice President: Mr T Larkins

Honorary Life Presidents: Messrs N Booth, K R Pemberton, P D Robinson

Hon Secretary: Mr N Harpham

Hon Treasurer: Mr T Shaw

Minutes Secretary: Mr N Harpham

Syllabus Coordinator: Mr N Harpham

YPA Delegate: Mr G Fearons

Librarian: Mr R Booth

Committee: Dr D M Athale, Messrs R Booth,
K Robinson, T Shaw, N Harpham, J McGonigal

OUR SYLLABUS FOR 2017 to 2018


13 September

Members: 12 Sheets or £1

27 September

His Stock: K Johnson

11 October

Barnsley Postal History: John Shaw

25 October

Returned Mail: Jeremy Piercy

8 November

The Zeppelin Story Part 2: Mick and Barbara Inger

22 November

Stockton and Darlington Rail: Mike Lewis

9 December

Open Day

13 December

President's Evening: Jill Fearons


10 January

JKL and Single Sheet: Members

24 January

Competition Evening: Members

14 February

Various USA Sheet Stamp Issues: Nigel Harpham

28 February

Yorkshire Postal History: John Gravett

14 March

The Life and Times of King George VI: Daphne McMillan

28 March

GB in General: Ken Brown

7 April

Open Day

11 April

The Falkland Islands: Robert McMillan

25 April

Yorkshire Railways: Alan Shaw

9 May

South Africa: Roger Ramsden

23 May

74th Annual General Meeting

13 June

The British Army Part 2: Neville Angell

27 June

Lord Mason and Dickie Bird Competitions: Members

11 July

Informal: Members

25 July

Informal / Quiz Night and Supper: Members


Diary of Philatelic Events

Yorkshire Philatelic Association Home Page

More links on the Yorkshire Philatelic Association's Links Page


This is an on-going project to show items of Barnsley postal history. If you have items to include please email the Webmaster (below) with a suitable caption and an image (preferably as a jpeg image).

The Straight Lined Hand-stamps

The earliest recorded postal markings for Barnsley were a straight two-lined hand-stamp in use from 1739 to 1741, followed from 1742 to 1747 by a straight single-lined handstamp, thus:


1739 to 1741


1742 to 1747

From 1749 to 1799 these types of handstamps are found in different formats, spellings and sizes (see the British County Catalogue of Postal History, Volume 4, by R M Willcocks and B Jay for full details).

Mileage Marks

In the eighteenth century main postal routes radiated from London, and since letters were charged for the distance carried as well as the number of sheets and weight, it was important for receiving offices to know how far a letter had been carried as they were responsible for collecting the charge where the letter was unpaid. Therefore mileage marks were introduced showing each town's distance from London.

Barnsley was surveyed as being 177 miles from London and earliest mileage marks from about 1800 show a straight line 'BARNSLEY' with '177' below. In 1817 the route was re-surveyed and the mileage was found to be wrong and changed to '176'. In 1824 a circular mileage mark came into use.

The Double Arced Circular Cancellations

Circular hand-stamps with a double arc at the base were in use during the 1840s. They were used in combination with a 'killer' to cancel the stamp.

Double Arc Cancel.
Letter from Barnsley to London 14 September 1842, with faint Maltese Cross cancelling
SG No 8 Queen Victoria 1d Red imperforate plate 22; K-J; letter K doubled. The letter
is from a Quaker with the Quaker style of dating. Quakers believe that the names of days
of the week and months are from heathen gods and should not be used. Instead they write
the date in all numerals, in this case September is written '9mo'.

The 'Skeleton' Marks

The so called 'Skeleton Marks' were in use from 1839 to 1847. These types of marking had a trial from the late 1830’s to the 1850’s. Being of moveable type they were used as ‘Travelling Stamps’, described in The British County Catalogue as ‘Shifting Stamps’ and also known as ‘Skeleton’ marks.

The Barred Oval and Duplex Cancellations

From May 1844 a series of numbered cancellations were issued to English and Welsh towns alphabetically. Barnsley was allocated number '49'. Early cancellers were horizontal bars in the shape of an oval. Later they became vertical barred ovals with a circular date stamp alongside - the so called 'duplex' cancels. They were in use until the squared circle postmarks took over, but in many places are found in use much later.

Duplex Cancel.
Mourning envelope from Barnsley to York, 14 June 1873.

The Squared Circle Postmarks

The squared circles postmarks were introduced in the United Kingdom in late 1879 as an alternative to the duplex cancels, which were somewhat larger and more cumbersome to use. The additional arcs constituted the "killer" that marked the stamp as having been used. They declined in use from the 1910s, when new types of cancelling devices became available, and disappeared by the 1930s.

Squared Circle Postmark.
Barnsley Squared Circle Postmark
dated 28 February 1900.
Squared Circle Postmark.
Barnsley Squared Circle Postmark dated
13 September 1906 on postcard to Wakefield.

The 20th Century

Modern postal history is seen by many as boring and not worth collecting - but can nevertheless be an interesting field to study.

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