ONCE upon a time, many years ago, we were so proud of our empire that envelopes containing letters were engraved on the front to show Britannia sitting on her throne above a lion sending forth her winged messengers to her peoples in many lands.

This was before the coming of the postage stamp and, when letters were handed in, a fee of one penny was paid and then, when the letter was delivered, it was cancelled by means of a red Maltese cross. I was told of one of these envelopes a few years ago and apparently it had the date of 1840.

It was owned by Philip Jenkins of Marlborough Road and was handed down to him by his father, Ralph Jenkins, who was the dentist of “Tranmere,” in New Street.

It was addressed to John Peniston, Esq, near the Close Gates, Salisbury. I believe these envelopes were known as ‘Malrenie’ after the designer.

Incidentally the 27 room “Tranmere” came tumbling down under the Hammerson development plan of the 1960s which saw an orgy of demolition in New Street Chequer. Demolition squads manhandled medieval buildings out of the way as if they were packs of cards and the bulldozers shifted seven centuries of Salisbury history in as many weeks.

It is said that with the demolition of “Tranmere,” the ghost which had haunted the building for many years was finally rendered homeless! The ghost was that of a lady who was murdered for her jewellery and she was supposed to have been seen by Dr Ellis’ wife when the doctor lived at “Tranmere.” So firm was the belief in the ghost that in the early 1900s a service to exorcise the spectre was held at the house by Canon Bush.