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1 March 2023

This England: Snail mail

This column – which, though named after a line in Shakespeare’s “Richard II”, refers to the whole of Britain – has run in the NS since 1934.

By New Statesman

Strike action may be causing postal delays at present, but they are nothing compared to the time taken for one letter to make it from Bath to Crystal Palace: 105 years.

The letter was sent by a Christabel Mennell, who seemed to be racked by guilt and wished to make amends with her friend Katie Marsh. Mennell  posted the letter from Bath in February 1916.

It finally fell through the letterbox of 18 Hamlet Road in 2021, where it was picked up by the present resident, Finlay Glen.

Confronted by a George V stamp, he swiftly realised the postmark “6 Feb 16” didn’t refer to 2016.
The Times
(Amanda Welles)

[See also: This England: The best a cat can get]

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Not-so-sharp shooter

A “pathetic” robber who forgot to cover his face and then fired shots in a Leeds shop before being disarmed by a customer, pleaded for his gun back after being bundled out of the premises.

Mitigating on the robber’s behalf, Carl Templar-Vasey said: “It was incredibly unsophisticated. He walks into a shop where there is CCTV everywhere. It was a poorly executed attempt to commit a burglary.”
Yorkshire Evening Post
(Michael Meadowcroft)

A patient learner

A student has been awarded his doctorate more than 50 years after he began it. Dr Nick Axten, 76, started his thesis in mathematical sociology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1970, but returned to the UK without completing it. In 2016 he enrolled at Bristol University to do so. 

Axten said: “Some problems are so great it takes the best part of a lifetime to get your head around them.”
The Times
(David Lamming)

Each printed entry receives a £5 book token. Entries to comp@newstatesman.co.uk or on a postcard to This England.

[See also: This England: Delivered from danger]

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This article appears in the 01 Mar 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Mission