The Black Bordered Envelope
Back in Edwardian days as well as earlier and later, things were done properly. If someone died then letters were sent in a black bordered envelope. These, of course, were the days before the widespread use of the phone, let alone E-mail or social media. Your notification that someone had died would drop through your letter box in a black bordered envelope,
But propriety required that black bordered envelopes were also used for a period of mourning afterwards. Our envelope today covers that period of mourning following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
James Welch, as we can see, was Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association. This body of men had obviously sent their condolences to the close relatives of Victoria which included, of course, the new King, Edward VII. The letter in the envelope was to thank the association for their kind thoughts. It is a form letter, making use of what we’d now call mail merge although back in 1901 this involved a scribe in handwriting in various sections.
As we see, the King did not deal with this himself. He commanded the signatory and he got someone else to do the scribing. But obviously the Welch family thought this was worth keeping – until it was passed to the museum.
James Welch was our museum founder’s grandfather.