King’s Lynn connection to valuable envelope

No Caption ABCDE ANL-140403-094934001
No Caption ABCDE ANL-140403-094934001
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An envelope posted to a Lynn doctor during the Boer War in Africa 114 years ago could fetch up to £120 at auction.

The rare envelope was sent from a prisoner of war to Dr Charles Bagge Plowright, who was one of Britain’s leading experts on Fungi, in 1900.

The name of the sender is not known as the letter originally inside the envelope is missing, but it was posted from Pretoria (in what is now South Africa) on May 15, 1900, and took six weeks to make the 6,000 mile journey by sea to Britain. It eventually reached Lynn on June 26, 1900.

Dr Plowright was born in Lynn on April 3, 1849, and was apprenticed to Dr John Lowe, surgeon-apothecary to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII).

A president of the British Mycological Society for two years, he was a house surgeon at the West Norfolk and Lynn hospital, a Lynn magistrate and a governor of Lynn Grammar School.

At the time of the 1901 census, he was living in King Street, Lynn, and died nine years later. His funeral took place at North Wootton parish church on April 27, 1910.

Dr Plowright’s great grandson, Dr Michael Petch, is a consultant cardiologist at the Sandringham Hospital in Lynn, and in a paper for the British Medical Journal in 1998, he described Dr Plowright as “a Victorian polymath”, adding: “Most of his publications were concerned with the study of fungi.”

The Plowright envelope is one of more than 400 Boer War stamps and envelopes now being auctioned at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, on Wednesday.