The objective of this enterprise, started and maintained by Professor Cedric Prys-Roberts
since 2004, is to make a permanent computer-based record of all postal history material pertaining to Wales,
from the inception of postal services through Wales to Ireland in the 16th century up to
the present day.
The ARCHIVE records digital computer images of :
entire letters, envelopes (and their contents):
parcel post labels :
adhesive stamps with Welsh postmarks (on or off piece):
and other appropriate ephemera (images of handstamps, writing implements etc):
The main criterion for inclusion in the Archive is that the item was posted in Wales for
transmission within, or out of Wales. Certain items of mail carried into or through Wales
(for instance mail to or from Ireland bearing instructional marks - e.g. the additional
halfpenny or penny) will be included. Also included are items bearing a distinctive postal or
instructional mark, e.g. PostPaid 4d - W.O. (the initials of the Pwllheli postmaster William Owen).
On the reverse is a manuscript Pwllhely -= also written by the postmaster in lieu of a town handstamp.
The ARCHIVE will be a valuable source for anyone interested in the postal history of Wales,
as it is a fully illustrated compendium that will replace existing catalogues such as the
chapter on WALES (edited by Michael Scott Archer) in the British County Catalogue
of Postal History (Volume 5), 1990; edited by Willcocks R.M. and Jay B.
Moreover, the contents of many of the letters and postcards, in Welsh and English,
will be of considerable value to historians with an interest in the social and communication
history of Wales from the time of Roman occupation to the present time.
All letters, postcards, parcel post labels etc are scanned by a high-resolution scanner
(currently an Epson Perfection V600) connected to an Apple MacPro computer.
Most items will be recorded in colour at resolutions between 600 d.p.i (letters and postcards)
and 3200 d.p.i. (e.g. Queen Victoria line-engraved, or surface-printed stamps).
A typical pre-1840 entire letter will be scanned to show the front (obverse) and back (reverse)
of the folded letter, and as many pages of the contents of the letter as are appropriate.
Specific town handstamps, instructional marks, and manuscript marks are usually scanned
additionally at higher resolutions.
Currently (May 2018) the Archive consists of 24,173 items stored (as 20.76 Gb ) on a
primary computer, and also on two subsidiary 1Tb and 2Tb SSD hard disks,
as either a TIFF and/or JPEG files.