TPO -> The TPOs of British Guiana

The Travelling Post Offices and Postal Agencies of British Guiana

By Keith Morris

In most countries TPOs were a mere adjunct to the main mail-system. In British Guiana the mail-system would have broken down immediately if the Travelling Post Offices and Travelling Postal Agencies had ceased to operate. Yet because the opening-up of the Interior came slowly, so did the development of the system of Travelling Post Offices. In the 1879 PO Handbook, none were mentioned, though possibly a TPO on the Demerara Railway was overlooked. The 1884 PO Guide lists four: Demerara Railway, and the Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo River Steamers. It omitted the Upper Demerara River TPO, which was then functioning. The 1906 PO Guide lists those five, plus the Berbice, and West Coast Railways, Bartica Steamer and Pomeroon River Boat - making nine in all. By 1946 the number had increased to 15, and by 1966 there were no less than 19 TPOs or TPAs working, plus two 'Mobile Postal Units' which were virtually TPOs and are included in this survey.

A comprehensive survey of this topic is offered as a large downloadable 105 page pdf.

Brief notes are supplied about each TPO in turn with maps and cancellations illustrated.

Some examples of the covers illustrated follow:-

Stationery card of May 3rd 1888 addressed to La Bonne Intention, (Georgetown) from Plaisance with the transit mark of the Demerara Railway

'BERBICE RAILWAY GUIANA / * 26 JA 35' on cover to Irvington, NJ, USA with a Georgetown back stamp

'MAHAICA CREEK BG / * 23MY58' on cover to Worthing, England with a back stamp of British Guiana / GPO of 23rd May 1958

Download link to the entire document on our Resources page.

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