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Fred Sellars03/11/2019 12:00:14
205 forum posts
67 photos

The water that Mr Sugden relates to,was obtained from the river Erme at Ivybridge in Devon, by the firm of Wiggins Teape ( now known as Arjowiggins ) producing the paper for all of the ½d to 1/6d Wilding definitives issued from 1953 onwards at the Stowford paper mill located there .

A history of the mill can be viewed on the following website :-

It makes interesting reading, Fred.


Edited By Fred Sellars on 03/11/2019 12:03:29

Edited By Fred Sellars on 03/11/2019 12:12:17

Fred Sellars07/11/2019 14:13:42
205 forum posts
67 photos

It was Harrison and sons at High Wycombe that had the contract with the GPO to produce the lower value definitives at the time and it is stated that the GPO was not satisfied with the continuity and uniformity of colour in the papers used to print their stamps, as slight variations had been discovered in the finished product due to the condition of the water taken from the river Erme in times of flood .

An agreement was made between the GPO, Harrison and sons and Arjowiggins to rectify the situation and from 1962 the water supply was pre-filtered and ' white wove ' replaced ' cream wove ' papers thereafter .

No distinction has been drawn between the fluorescent and the non-fluorescent printings since this agreement was made, however, it was the slight variations of colour that lead to the agreement to produce white papers in the first place .

It would appear that the variations got even greater after the agreement was made as whiter paper is produced by the inclusion of optical brightening agents either in the rags used or added direct during the pulp stage, these variations can be clearly seen in the scans that I have depicted .

Fred Sellars07/11/2019 14:56:16
205 forum posts
67 photos

A small correction is required ,the agreement was not made by Arjowiggins but by Wiggins Teape at the time .

Fred Sellars11/11/2019 20:00:22
205 forum posts
67 photos

The mill had previously discharged it's wastewater back into the river Erme but from 1963 an effluent plant was in operation, no doubt to keep the environment free of pollutants due to the greater use of optical brightening agents in order to produce the new white papers for the stamps required .

**Apparently on the 18th of October 1963 the 2d value printed on a white paper was originally rejected by the GPO due to the fact the chocolate brown colour had a faded appearance based on the previous cream paper ones, in a memorandum dated 4th of March 1964 the dispute was resolved, as the supplies department chose the one considered the nearest match after various trials had been made .

The fluctuation is not recognised by Stanley Gibbons unlike the 6d value (Edward Crown) from deep claret to reddish-purple from the 8th May 1958 .

** This information was obtained from the postal museum listings relating to the low value Wilding definitives .

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