First day cover (FDC) for 1979 Drake’s Island local stamp issue, featuring two 15p values to commemorate the centenary of the death (in 1879) of Sir Rowland Hill, creator of the Penny Post.
One stamp depicts the Penny Black and the other the Penny Red (though the reproduction is more brown).
Inside the envelope is a printed card insert with more information about the issue.
Issued on 12 October 1979.
About Drake’s Island
Drake's Island is a 6.5-acre island located within Plymouth Sound, close to the city of Plymouth in Devon.
The island's location has long afforded it a strategic and defensive importance, with new gun emplacements erected during the Second World War. By the 1960s, the island was no longer required for military purposes, and from 1963 until 1989 it operated as an "adventure centre". It was during this period, in 1973, that the first Drake's Island stamps were issued, to cover the cost of ferrying mail from the island to the nearest post office on the mainland, and occasional new issues continued to be produced until 1981.
After the adventure centre closed, the island was eventually put up for sale and bought by former Plymouth Argyle chairman Dan McCauley in 1995, but his plans to convert the island's historic buildings into a luxury hotel and resort failed to come to fruition, with planning permission only granted in 2017.
The current owner is another local businessman, Morgan Phillips, who bought the Island in 2019. Plans involve opening a small hotel and wedding venue, but the new owners emphasise that Drake's Island has been "reclaimed for the people of Plymouth", with public access a priority. Two-hour guided tours were offered for the first time in 2022 - though it remains to be seen whether a new generation of Drake's Island stamps might be produced as a service and souvenir for these latest visitors!