Anatomy of a Madeira Letter – Back Stamp | Hogshead
Home > History of wine, Picture > Anatomy of a letter from Madeira - Back stamp Anatomy of a Madeira Letter - back stamp The UK Post Office was divided into a number of branches, with the Foreign Office separate from the Home Office. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs handled mail to and from overseas […]

Home > History of wine, Picture > Anatomy of a letter from Madeira - Back stamp

Anatomy of a Madeira Letter - back stamp


The UK Post Office was divided into a number of branches, with the Foreign Office separate from the Home Office. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs handled mail to and from overseas destinations, including a number of letters sent to MM. Newton, Gordon that I have in my collection. From 1797, the Foreign Office hand-stamped all outgoing messages.[1]

Between 1806 and 1814, the Department of Foreign Affairs used a red stamp with "Foreigner" and the year in two concentric circles. There is a code number in the middle. The first image is made up of four marks for the years 1808-1811.

From 1815 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs switched to a new black stamp. In a circle appear "F" and the last two digits of the year separated by the perpendicular code number. The second image is made up of stamps from 1817, 1819 and 1820 and 1821.

The last image includes three stamps on the back of 1817 which I have arranged in ascending order of the numerical code. As you can see, the May letter has a higher value than the September letters. Maybe the code is just a 3 digit sequence number that went back to zero at least once between May and September. In addition, 67 letters were stamped between the two September letters. If anyone understands this code, please let me know.

  • # 167 - Dated September 10, 1817
  • # 235 - Dated September 10, 1817
  • # 252 - Dated May 13, 1817

[1] “The Jay Catalog: Revisions Continued - FOREIGN OFFICE”, London Postal History Group, number 158, August 2004. URL: http://www.gbps.org.uk/information/downloads/lphg-notebook.php


We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.

If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles allie all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine packs.

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )

Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising

Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain packs ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the packs we list in this section require little ageing.

As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !

From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your conteneur and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the juste temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter pack packages. See our film showing the genres of heating equipment available for your fermentation.

It is important to clean

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment kits which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment

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