5 May 1953
Dear Mr Ingledew
Thank you very much for trusting me with a view of these letters & stamps. As my brother will have told you I am intensely interested & if you are specialising in these early line - engraved English, as I am, the more one sees the better, as you can never say when something of special interest or value may turn up. Particularly this is so nowadays unstamped cards & postmarks are full of interest. I dont see anything of particular value among these - there are the usual vairations in perforation & watermark one would look for in 1855-56 but nothing outstanding. In the matter of postmarks - BARRAS BRIDGE on the back of the top cover of the stamped batch interests me as I have it in a different type & LEADBURN on the back of the next cover also intrigues me. It is what is called a Scots Local Stamp & these can be found as cancellations (i.e. on the stamp) between 1556 & 1861 odd & are then often sought for & valuable. On the back of the cover they are common but Leadburn interests me as I see that in the old lists it was given as Leadburn Toll & as far as I know the shorter form was used later but I really dont know whether this form is scarce or not - the type (name in a frame) is frequent. On the uppermost cover of the stampless group there is a mark L in a circle without year being given & this is a type used at Liverpool & the books say usually on letters to Canada, so this seems a normal example. The 2 in the front is a handstamped form often collected but mostly only worth a shilling or two. I see there had been other stamps on the cover & the 2 was probably paid in cash to make up the full rate.
Now a word of thanks for the diary - very interesting reading & I enjoyed it much. What a journey it was in those days. I felt that we & much more so the young of these days cannot conceive what the ordinary man took in his stride. Who now ever knows what it is to drive into sleet & snow in a dogcart & expect to find water has leaked under the waterproof somewhere. And to live 4 miles form ones newspaper shop a walk in to fetch papers if snow prevented horse traffic. Even I have done that often enough.
Well well I wish I could have found more value in your parcel but it was no bother & a great pleasure to see them & look for things & read the diary.
I dont think we ever met but I have vivid recollections of Hugh Ingledew & his boy whom I taught & I can now picture Ethel Ingledew striding out into the country as I came in by train or car from Llandaff or Ely - But its a long time ago I left Llandaff in 1919.
Again thanking you & with very kind regards
R Brice Smith