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J.J.A. BOASE, BANKER PENZANCE, CORNWALL: LETTER from MELBOURNE

The following scans were sent to me by Les Molnar who has added this cover to his ‘Emblems’ of Victoria stamp exhibit. It is unique in that a total of nine green 1d emblems stamps were used on the cover, and more importantly it had the previously unknown use of an interpanneau block of 4 stamps on the cover. The cover was sent per ‘Emeu’ via Marseilles and the 9 stamps were composed of a horizontal and a vertical pair, the interpanneau block of 4, plus a single stamp, canceled with the barred numeral ‘1' of Melbourne. It was addressed April 24th 1860 and J.J.A. Boase Esqre, Penzance, Cornwall, England (Figure 1).

Figure 1

The reverse showed the originating postmark of MELBOURNE/ A/ AP 24/ 60 and an incomplete arrival cancel of PENZANCE / B/ JU 13/ 60 (Figure 2).

Figure 2

The Boase name is very common in Cornwall and the addressee John Josias Arthur Boase, who was born in 1801 and died in 1896, was a banker at Penzance. In addition he was listed as a Borough Justice in 1835, a Councillor at Penzance in 1836 and a defeated alderman in 1841. His father Henry (1763-1827) had been a Mayor of Penzance in 1816-17. The bank with which Henry and John were involved had been originally established in 1810 by John and William Dennis; it was renamed Penzance Union Bank in 1819 and was sold in April 1823 becoming Henry Boase & Sons when it was established in Chapel Street on 1st May 1823 by Henry Boase of Alverton, with his 3 sons Henry Samuel (1799 -1883: MD 1821; Geologist, Fellow of Royal Society, 1837), John Josias Arthur and Trevenen James Boase.

In 1824 the bank became Boase, Grenfell, Boase & Co. Henry Boase died in 1827, Trevenen James Boase retired in December 1831 and the firm was dissolved by mutual consent in August 1836 when it was sold to another bank, becoming the Penzance office of a Devonport bank, still located at Chapel Street, with John Josias Arthur Boase as manager, as of 1st October 1836. It was again resold, resuming the name of Penzance Union Bank at the same address in September 1844, with John Josias Arthur as manager from 1844-1847. The bank was sold again and closed on 11th October 1847. A view of Penzance in 1817, and the position of the bank surrounded by houses built for the employees of the bank as well as a school, are shown in Figures 3 & 4.

Figure 3

Figure 4

In 1871, John Josias Arthur Boase was listed as head of household, aged 69, at Alverton Vean, a retired banker and landowner in Knightsbridge, London. He was married to Charlotte Boase (1802-1873), and they had a son Charles William Boase aged 42, a clergyman and tutor at Oxford, as well as a 31 year old daughter, Julia Boase. It is obvious that the Boase family were wealthy, with a property in London and their domicile listed 2 servants, a housemaid and a cook. Actually John Josias and Charlotte had 3 additional sons and 1 additional daughter, all not living at home. The most prominent was Frederick Boase (born near Penzance 1843, died 1916) who was a lawyer and bibliographer, who was articled to a local solicitor in Penzance and he passed his law finals in London in 1867. He moved to London and was appointed Librarian at the Incorporated Law Society. From 1868, Frederick Boase lived in London with his brother George Clement Boase, both working on biographical studies. I have no information on the fourth brother, George Clement Boase. Quite an illustrious family of three generations!

 
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