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Message posted near Bradford on Avon in 1912 arrives a century later
Farmer Keith Potter is baffled by a postcard delivered to his home 100 years after it was sent.
The postcard was delivered to Paradise Farm, Christian Malford, last week. The original postmark on the postcard is January 3, 1912 and it was posted from Monkton Farleigh, near Bradford on Avon.
The postcard was addressed to Vida Doel but the farm has been occupied by the Potter family since 1925.
Mr Potter, 65, has no idea why it has been delivered 100 years later. He wondered if it had been stuck behind a machine in a sorting office.
He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. We checked with the postman who delivers here a few days after we received it that he had delivered it and he said he did. He said it was in his delivery bag.
“Where has it been all these years? It’s not damaged. Wherever it has been, it has been kept really well. It hasn’t been affected by damp or mice.
"Had it fallen down the back of a desk or machine all these years?”
The card, written in pencil, features a photograph of Trowbridge fire brigade with horse-drawn carriages and was produced by R Wilkinson & Co of Trowbridge.
Paul Dauwalder, senior expert at stamp dealers Dauwalders of Salisbury, examined the postcard.
He said: “It was postmarked by hand at a sub post office in Monkton Farleigh on January 3, 1912. It would have been sent for distribution to Chippenham. The stamp on the postcard is of King George V and it was issued at the end of 1911.
“The postcard is in good condition. It has probably got lost somewhere in the back of a sorting office or base. Mail such as this is sometimes found when redundant machinery is being taken away.
“In 1912 sending messages by mail was in its heyday. People would use the postal service like telephones now. If this postcard was posted before 11am in that postal area then the addressee should expect to receive it by teatime the same day.”
While Royal Mail could not prove the postcard had already been delivered to Paradise Farm in 1912, a spokesman said: “It is extremely unlikely that this item was in our system all this time.
“It is difficult to speculate what may have happened, but almost certainly it was put back in a post box very recently, as we regularly check all our sorting office and machines are cleared.
"There are also two postmarks – the original one and a very recent one. Everything points to this being put back in the Royal Mail
The message on the postcard to 12-year-old Vida Doel is from her mother and tells her to bring a pony into Chippenham and meet her and others there.
Her mother instructs Vida to meet them by, what appears to read, JW Daniels. But research by staff at Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre has found there was an AJ Daniels, livery and bait stables, at 14 New Road, Chippenham, in January 1912.
Julie Brind, of the museum, said: “It would seem logical to leave a pony there for refreshment after a trip into Chippenham from Christian Malford.”
Mr Potter and friend Suzanne Fox researched the Doel family at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.
They found the family had lived at Paradise Farm from sometime in 1907 and in 1911 John Doel was the tenant. He and his wife, Rose, had four children – Gideon, Gladys, Vida and Madge. Vida was born on May 2, 1899 and went to Christian Malford Primary School.
The Doel family are thought to have left Paradise Farm in 1914.
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