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The Englishman who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects

By John Tingey

The 1st influence of W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939) used to be considered one of a typical middle-class Englishman quietly residing out his time as an accountant within the leafy suburb of woodland Hill, London. A glimpse at the back of his research door, besides the fact that, printed his awesome ardour for sending strange goods during the mail. In 1898, Bray bought a duplicate of the Post workplace Guide, and commenced to check the rules released quarterly by means of the British postal experts. He came across that the smallest merchandise you will publish was once a bee, and the most important, an elephant. Intrigued,he made up our minds to scan with sending usual and unusual items during the submit unwrapped, together with a turnip, abowler hat, a bicycle pump, blouse cuffs, seaweed, a garments brush, even a rabbit's cranium. He ultimately published his Irish terrier and himself (not together), incomes him the identify "The Human Letter." He additionally mailed playing cards to not easy addressessome within the type of photograph puzzles, others despatched to ambiguous recipients at difficult to arrive destinationsall within the identify of trying out the deductive powers of the beleaguered postman. through the years hispassion replaced from sending curios to accumulating the world's biggest number of autographs, additionally through the submit. beginning with key British army officials keen on the second one Boer conflict, he obtained millions of autographs through the first 4 a long time of the 20th centuryof politicians, army males, acting artists, aviators, carrying stars, and so on. by the point he died in 1939, Bray had despatched out greater than thirty-two thousand postal curios and autograph requests. The Englishman Who published Himself and different Curious Objects tells W. Reginald Bray's striking story for the 1st time and comprises pleasant illustrations of a few of his such a lot outstanding postal creations. Readers won't ever examine the items they put up a similar means back.

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For a few cause the publish workplace took exception to this card and pointed out it as a letter rather than a postcard and charged Bray additional for it. Fig. 23. (ABOVE) made from a starched piece of blouse cuff, Bray despatched this card to himself when he used to be staying at Shelly corridor. forty challenging goods F i g . 2 four . Bray reduce a postcard into the form of a caricature man’s head, most likely in line with the preferred comedian personality best friend Sloper. F i g . 2 five . one other postcard shaped the form of a braying donkey’s head. forty-one challenging goods forty two challenging goods out to be a stunning failure. He didn’t expect that a lot of the wax may half corporation with the cardboard, falling away in transit and rendering the deal with absolutely illegible. keep in mind that, the put up place of work lower back this one undelivered. » [F i g . 2 eight ] Postal historians could most likely reflect on Bray’s early makes an attempt to confound the publish place of work with unusually addressed postcards his finest and creative efforts and, accordingly, his most vital. certainly, a couple of eminent philatelists proudly boast a few early Bray ephemera of their collections of surprising goods, or underpaid and redirected mail. The earliest i've got noticeable of those is a postcard despatched on June 28, 1898, to Arnold, who was once staying in Ivybridge, Devon, on the time. Bray despatched a couple of early curios to Arnold, a neighbour for a number of years and outdated pal. This time, rather than utilizing the traditional approach to tackle, Bray wrote his friend’s tackle in verse: Now Postman be style in case you will carry this down at “Torrhill” This home is situate in Devon The publish went out approximately 11 The publish workplace is down within the village The identify of that is Ivybridge The deal with i believe I’ve now you instructed other than the identify is E. Arnold. simply because he underlined the correct phrases of the rhyme, the put up workplace deemed the cardboard validly addressed and duly added it. at the again Bray wrote a message to Arnold teaching him to convey the cardboard again to wooded area Hill on his go back domestic. » [F i g . 2 nine ] Fig . 26. F i g . 2 7. ( O PP O website , ( O PPoSITE , T O P ) An envelope crocheted via Bray’s gifted mom, Mary. B O TT O M ) This from the small piece of card sewn onto the ground left-hand nook, this merchandise was once despatched in the course of the submit with out protecting crocheted deal with is usually Mary Bray’s handiwork. aside forty three wrapping and arrived at its vacation spot undamaged. hard goods F i g . 2 eight . Bray’s try and write an handle in sealing wax was once lower back with an “insufficiently addressed” cachet. forty four challenging goods F i g . 2 nine . This postcard, despatched to Arnold with the handle written in verse and the most important phrases underlined, is one in every of Bray’s earliest makes an attempt to check the submit workplace. forty five challenging goods F i g . three zero . An audacious try to ship a postcard all over the world for an insignificant penny. forty six challenging goods overjoyed that the 1st card arrived effectively, Bray swiftly devised a chain of recent ways to problem the gurus’ declare that each one submit “must be added as addressed.

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