2nd April 2019 British Honduras & British Guiana – Dr. Malcolm Hughes

On Tuesday 2nd April the society welcomed Dr. Malcolm Hughes who presented material from British Honduras and British Guiana.  We started in alphabetical order with British Guiana which is famous for one of the more expensive stamps in the catalogue – the 1856 1c magenta provisional, which is sadly missing from Malcolm’s collection.  We began with ship letters – British Guiana is on the north east coast of South America facing onto the Caribbean and mail went from either the capital, Demerara, or the second port of Berbis.  From 1850, British stamps were used with the A03 and A04 postmarks and we saw examples of these.  From 1852, the colony issued its own stamps with a sailing ship – a theme which continued with issues through the next several sets of stamps.  As with many colonies, there were delays or problems in getting the right stamps delivered on time – in 1862 the entire shipment got damp and arrived as a solid unusable block.  A local provisional was produced, with each stamp signed by the postmaster.  1890 saw a break from sailing ships and two local views were used on the Queen Victoria Jubilee – Mount Roraima and Kaieteur Falls.

British Honduras is in Central America, again on the Caribbean coast and its capital was Belize – the name by which the country is now known. The country’s main export is chicle, used to produce chewing gum.  Again, we started with ship letters followed by British stamps, this time bearing the A06 barred oval postmark.  In 1866 the colony procured its own stamps from de la Rue, portraying the Queen’s head.  Most of the early mail went through New Orleans – either into the United States, or by train up to New York to be put on the postal steamers there for Britain and Europe.   During WWII we heard that stamps were produced on a new type of paper so that they could be identified if stamps were captured by the Germans.  We moved on to air mail issues, where the famous Charles Lingbergh was responsible for setting up and flying the route from Miami – British Honduras – Panama.  We saw a range of covers including first flights with cachet and early commercial mail.  We finished with the 1949 issue which commemorated the defeat of the Spanish in 1789 that was made possible by the cooperation between the slaves and their owners.

Our next presentation evening will be on Tuesday 16th April 2019 at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when John Barker will talk about collecting postal stationery. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.