British post offices in China

British Post Offices In China

British post offices in China

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The British post offices in China were a system of post offices set up by the United Kingdom in various treaty ports of China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



As a consequence of the Treaty of Nanking of 29 August 1842, Great Britain opened five consular postal agencies on 16 April 1844. Another five were opened later.

  • Amoy (1844), Cancelled "A1" 1866-1885; "D27" from 1876-1885
  • Canton (1844), Cancelled "C1" 1866-1885
  • Foochow (1844), Cancelled "F1" 1866-1885
  • Ningpo (1844), Cancelled "N1" 1866-1885
  • Shanghai (1844), Cancelled "S1" 1866-1885
  • Swatow (1861), Cancelled "S2" 1866-1885
  • Hankow (1872), Cancelled "D29" 1879-1885
  • Kiungchow (1873), Cancelled "D28" 1876-1885
  • Tientsin (1882)
  • Chefoo (1903)


Initially letters were simply bagged in these cities and carried to Hong Kong, where they were cancelled "B62"; later (1860s/70s) each office received its own postmarking devices.

Postage stamps of Hong Kong were used from 1862 on, but after 1 January 1917 the Hong Kong stamps were overprinted "CHINA". The initial overprinting including 16 values ranging from 1 cent to 10 dollars; from 1922 on, an additional 10 values with the Multiple Script CA watermark were also overprinted.

All of the offices were closed on 30 November 1922.

The settlement at Wei-Hai-Wei was a leasehold rather than a treaty port. It was occupied on 24 May 1898, and mail franked with the...
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