Pension Slip Paper

Pension slip paper made at Stowford Mill

Old age pension payments

were first introduced by the British Government in 1908 and paid five shillings a week. Only men above the age of 70 qualified for this first pension, at a time when the average life expectancy was below 50. Despite this, roughly half a million people went to collect their pension when they became available.

The Post Office at 49-50 Fore Street

Ivybridge cancellation

Ivybridge Post Office

Post Offices have historically provided a wealth of services to communities requiring a position of prominence. A document dated July 1898, submitted by W. Vincent, Carpenter, Builder, Cabinet Maker and Undertaker of Western Road, Ivybridge, records a sum of £733 10s to construct a three-storey building on the main thoroughfare at 49-50 Fore Street.

The new building came into service following a period of expansion by the Post Office. In 1861 the Post Office Savings Bank had opened, offering an alternative to traditional banks and nine years later a telegraph service was launched. By 1883 the Post Office started a parcel delivery service despite stern opposition from the major railway companies who historically managed the transportation of parcels. Previously the post office had been located in Western Road at the site of the coaching house and later elsewhere in Fore Street.

In 1909 Post Offices became the principal payment agency for social security benefits which began with old-age pensions. The first payments were issued in bound books, each containing 25 pension orders.

In 1912, the General Post Office branched out into telephone services when it bought the system from the National Telephone Company. The telephone exchange for Ivybridge was located above the Post Office until the early 1960s.

Pension Act

The British Government established two committees in the 1890s to investigate a pension scheme for the UK (the Rothschild Committee on Old Age Pensions in 1896 and a Select Committee on the Aged Deserving Poor in 1899). However, it was not until 1908 that a state pension was introduced in the UK.

 

Britain was now entering a period of social welfare reform. In 1911 the National Insurance Act was passed and under Part 1 of the scheme, employers were obliged to contribute to a fund to provide sickness payments to their workers. The contributions by employer and worker were made by means of stamping cards every week. National Health Insurance stamps were first issued on 1st Jan 1912.

 

The National Insurance Act Part II enabled unemployment benefit to be paid to certain “insured trades” such as building construction, shipbuilding, iron founding, mechanical engineering, vehicle contracting, and sawmills. Evidence of payment was again provided by fixing special stamps in books or cards. If contributing workers were made redundant, they could receive 7s 6d (90d) per week for 15 weeks, collected from labour exchanges.

Pension slip paper made in Ivybridge

Paper for the printing of pension payment slips was manufactured at Stowford Mill from as early as 1926 and was business it continued to supply until the government phased out the pension book system in 2003, replacing it with Direct Payment.

 

Pension slip paper was first manufactured by the well-established paper maker of the time, Portals of Laverstoke located in Hampshire. However, due to a shortage of production capacity at their own mill following the award of this new contract, they leased Bramshott Paper Mill just a short distance away to manufacture pension paper.

 

In 1924, when the lease for Bramshott expired, Portals decided to move the pension business to their newly acquired paper mill in Devon, Stowford Mill at Ivybridge. The plan was to use this mill to expand their general security paper business activities. Within our archives their is a sample of paper emanating from a production trial of watermarked Old Age Pension paper manufactured in 1925. This was sent to the Postmaster General for formal approval ahead of full-scale production.

 

By 1926 the production journals at Stowford Mill reveal that “W.O.O.A.C. engine sized, pension paper” was being manufactured. On 10 February a total of 7 reels were manufactured at a paper machine deckle (width) of 63¾”, weighing 5141 lbs and taking 17 hours to complete. This was followed on 11 February by 49 reels amounting to 35762 lbs and taking a total of 119 hours. Production records also reveal that National Health Insurance (NHI) stamp paper and Unemployment Insurance (UI) stamp paper was being produced from around this time.

 

On 1 Jan 1926 National Health and Pensions insurance stamps were issued for the first time under the Widows’, Orphans’, and Old-Age Contributory Pensions Act 1925. This Act provided a pension of 10s a week from the age of 65. It was later revamped in 1928 to cover at all workers but dependent on them paying into the scheme.

 

Pension paper production continued in earnest at Stowford Mill and the production records reveal that the watermark changed many times. In 1928 it was being recorded as Pensions or Allowances, reflecting the change to the pension scheme and by 1939, the production records show that the watermark was GVIR Pensions or Allowances, reflecting the change to the head of state.

Her Majesty’s Stationery Office

The provision of pension paper was coordinated by HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationery Office). Formerly the Stationery Office, it was established in 1786 as the central organisation for the printing and binding of official government documents, stationery and publications. From 1822, all government departments were required to buy stationery through the open competitions and tenders operated by HMSO.
Wiggins Teape had a long standing relationship with HMSO and supplied papers ranging from naval charts and Ordnance Survey maps to papers for Savings and Health stamps and passports. It also supplied ‘Goatskin Parchment’, an archival paper used by the National Savings Bank, along with some other 100% rag papers.
fleur de lys

Watermarking

A watermark can be very useful when it comes to determining the origin and date of a document.
Watermarks were often used to identify the sheet size, reference the mill of manufacture or indicate the quality of the paper, such as the furnish (cotton content). 

Watermarks in pension documents

The paper used to produce pension books was a light weight grade to maximise document yield and included a watermark, serving as a first level security feature (one which could be easily recognised). The early watermarks appeared throughout the sheet of paper, whilst later watermarks employed more intricate tonal designs, which posed greater difficulty to mimic, and were localised in bands and positioned so each pension slip contained one band of watermarks.

Watermarks have existed for centuries and are created at an early stage of the paper manufacturing process using a special cylinder called a dandy roll. This bears the watermark design normally in reverse, which it then imparts to the paper as it is being manufactured. The lighter and darker areas of a watermark are achieved by creating subtle variations in the thickness of the paper.

The phasing out of pension books

From April 2003, the Government began phasing out the pension book system and replacing it with Direct Payment. This new policy saw pensions paid directly into an individual’s account of their choice, either a bank or building society account or a Post Office card account.

 

The Government stated that the benefits of choosing Direct Payment over the pension book were:

  • more secure – books could go missing in the post, get lost or stolen.
  • safer – no-one had to draw out their whole pension at once or carry more cash than they needed.
  • more flexible.
  • much cheaper to process payments in this way.

PENSION SLIP PAPER

Old age pension payments were first introduced by the British Government in 1908 and paid five shillings a week. Only men above the age of 70 qualified for this first pension, at a time when the average life expectancy was below 50. Despite this, roughly half a million people went to collect their pension when they became available.

Ivybridge Post Office

Post Offices have historically provided a wealth of services to communities requiring a position of prominence. A document dated July 1898, submitted by W. Vincent, Carpenter, Builder, Cabinet Maker and Undertaker of Western Road, Ivybridge, records a sum of £733 10s to construct a three-storey building on the main thoroughfare at 49-50 Fore Street.
The new building came into service following a period of expansion by the Post Office. In 1861 the Post Office Savings Bank had opened, offering an alternative to traditional banks and nine years later a telegraph service was launched. By 1883 the Post Office started a parcel delivery service despite stern opposition from the major railway companies who historically managed the transportation of parcels. Previously the post office had been located in Western Road at the site of the coaching house and later elsewhere in Fore Street.
In 1909 Post Offices became the principal payment agency for social security benefits which began with old-age pensions. The first payments were issued in bound books, each containing 25 pension orders.
In 1912, the General Post Office branched out into telephone services when it bought the system from the National Telephone Company. The telephone exchange for Ivybridge was located above the Post Office until the early 1960s.

Pension Act

The British Government established two committees in the 1890s to investigate a pension scheme for the UK (the Rothschild Committee on Old Age Pensions in 1896 and a Select Committee on the Aged Deserving Poor in 1899). However, it was not until 1908 that a state pension was introduced in the UK.
Britain was now entering a period of social welfare reform. In 1911 the National Insurance Act was passed and under Part 1 of the scheme, employers were obliged to contribute to a fund to provide sickness payments to their workers. The contributions by employer and worker were made by means of stamping cards every week. National Health Insurance stamps were first issued on 1st Jan 1912.
The National Insurance Act Part II enabled unemployment benefit to be paid to certain “insured trades” such as building construction, shipbuilding, iron founding, mechanical engineering, vehicle contracting, and sawmills. Evidence of payment was again provided by fixing special stamps in books or cards. If contributing workers were made redundant, they could receive 7s 6d (90d) per week for 15 weeks, collected from labour exchanges.

Pension slip paper made in Ivybridge

Paper for the printing of pension payment slips was manufactured at Stowford Mill from as early as 1926 and was business it continued to supply until the government phased out the pension book system in 2003, replacing it with Direct Payment.
Pension slip paper was first manufactured by the well-established paper maker of the time, Portals of Laverstoke located in Hampshire. However, due to a shortage of production capacity at their own mill following the award of this new contract, they leased Bramshott Paper Mill just a short distance away to manufacture pension paper.
In 1924, when the lease for Bramshott expired, Portals decided to move the pension business to their newly acquired paper mill in Devon, Stowford Mill at Ivybridge. The plan was to use this mill to expand their general security paper business activities. Within our archives their is a sample of paper emanating from a production trial of watermarked Old Age Pension paper manufactured in 1925. This was sent to the Postmaster General for formal approval ahead of full-scale production.
By 1926 the production journals at Stowford Mill reveal that “W.O.O.A.C. engine sized, pension paper” was being manufactured. On 10 February a total of 7 reels were manufactured at a paper machine deckle (width) of 63¾”, weighing 5141 lbs and taking 17 hours to complete. This was followed on 11 February by 49 reels amounting to 35762 lbs and taking a total of 119 hours. Production records also reveal that National Health Insurance (NHI) stamp paper and Unemployment Insurance (UI) stamp paper was being produced from around this time.
On 1 Jan 1926 National Health and Pensions insurance stamps were issued for the first time under the Widows’, Orphans’, and Old-Age Contributory Pensions Act 1925. This Act provided a pension of 10s a week from the age of 65. It was later revamped in 1928 to cover at all workers but dependent on them paying into the scheme.
Pension paper production continued in earnest at Stowford Mill and the production records reveal that the watermark changed many times. In 1928 it was being recorded as Pensions or Allowances, reflecting the change to the pension scheme and by 1939, the production records show that the watermark was GVIR Pensions or Allowances, reflecting the change to the head of state.

Her Majesty’s Stationery Office

The provision of pension paper was coordinated by HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationery Office). Formerly the Stationery Office, it was established in 1786 as the central organisation for the printing and binding of official government documents, stationery and publications. From 1822, all government departments were required to buy stationery through the open competitions and tenders operated by HMSO.
Wiggins Teape had a long standing relationship with HMSO and supplied papers ranging from naval charts and Ordnance Survey maps to papers for Savings and Health stamps and passports. It also supplied ‘Goatskin Parchment’, an archival paper used by the National Savings Bank, along with some other 100% rag papers.

The phasing out of pension books

From April 2003, the Government began phasing out the pension book system and replacing it with Direct Payment. This new policy saw pensions paid directly into an individual’s account of their choice, either a bank or building society account or a Post Office card account.
The Government stated that the benefits of choosing Direct Payment over the pension book were:
  • more secure – books could go missing in the post, get lost or stolen.
  • safer – no-one had to draw out their whole pension at once or carry more cash than they needed.
  • more flexible.
  • much cheaper to process payments in this way.