Delivering the Mail

Collection by The Postal Museum

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Methods that have been used to deliver Britain's mail.

The Postal Museum
A film history of the Royal Mail, made in the 1960s.

History of the postal service and the royal mail, 1960's -- Film 9127

History of the postal service.

Depiction of the original mail coach that travelled from Bristol to Bath to London in 1784.

Depiction of the original mail coach that travelled from Bristol to Bath to London in 1784.

A mail coach being drawn by horses along a road in heavy #rain, near #Taunton, #Somerset, 19th Century.

A mail coach being drawn by horses along a road in heavy #rain, near #Taunton, #Somerset, 19th Century.

The King’s Messenger A.D. 1482, artwork for poster by John Armstrong which was part of a series for schools on the history of communication. This reflects Royal Mail’s origins as a messenger service for the monarch and government.

What the privatisation of Royal Mail means to us

Our Director Adrian Steel gives a historical perspective on today’s announcement that Royal Mail will soon be privatised.

Frament of shrapnel found embedded in a Letter Packet received in the Reading mail despatched from Dover, 11 September 1940. The bag had been perforated by shell fire. #WW2

Shells over the White Cliffs

While the full force of the Blitz was focused on London, British ports, industrial towns and cities and other key strategic places throughout the country were also in the firing line throughout 194…

Map of Dover 1940-44, showing bombed spots. #WW2

Shells over the White Cliffs

While the full force of the Blitz was focused on London, British ports, industrial towns and cities and other key strategic places throughout the country were also in the firing line throughout 194…

A postman delivers mail to cottages in North Street in Brighstone, Isle of Wight, 1937.

House numbering in the UK

A postman delivers mail to cottages in North Street in Brighstone, Isle of Wight, 1937.

Horse-drawn mail van, 1887.

Mr Poppleton’s Horse

One of the most popular items in our collection is this sick note issued for a horse in 1898. “Mr T C Poppleton’s horse of The Post Office is suffering from sore shoulders and unable to…

'Lioness Attacking the Exeter Mail, At Winterston Hut near Salisbury, on the Night of Sunday the 20th of October, 1816' - colour engraved print by A Sauerweid, 1817 (2009-0024)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one

'Lioness Attacking the Exeter Mail, At Winterston Hut near Salisbury, on the Night of Sunday the 20th of October, 1816' - colour engraved print by A Sauerweid, 1817 (2009-0024)

Travelling Post Office bag apparatus. (POST 118/5744)

Venture to our Museum Store on 24th August to find out more about Mail Rail…

On Saturday 24th August we will be holding an open day at our Museum Store in Debden, just 20 minutes from the hub of Stratford, London.

A parcel delivery to Pilkington Glass at St. Helens, Merseyside, one of Parcelforce’s major contract customers. Image used in The Post Office Reports and Accounts, 1989-1990. (010-005-001)

130 years of the parcel post

Today marks the 130th Anniversary of the Parcel Post, which began on 1st August 1883. At the time, the service was regarded as the greatest revolution in the postal system since the introduction of…

A postman pushes a hand cart with a large GPO basket on it along a promenade, 1938. The basket contains mail unloaded from the Canadian Pacific Railways liner Duchess of Bedford at Greenock. Beginning its journey in places such as New Zealand and China, once unloaded, the mail was then sorted in the open air ‘sorting office’ of the Princes Pier before being despatched for delivery across the United Kingdom. (POST 118/851)

130 years of the parcel post

Today marks the 130th Anniversary of the Parcel Post, which began on 1st August 1883. At the time, the service was regarded as the greatest revolution in the postal system since the introduction of…

Sub Postmaster, Blanefield. A man stands beside a parked car on a road with its boot open. He is receiving parcels from a postman who is wearing waterproofs.

Sub Postmaster, Blanefield

A man stands beside a parked car on a road with its boot open. He is receiving parcels from a postman who is wearing waterproofs. Date: 1938 Finding Number: POST 118/845

Nene Valley Railway Travelling Post Office demonstration.

Nene Valley Railway Travelling Post Office Demo. Mail Rail day 13th July 2013

73050 Demonstrates Mail exchange on the Nene Valley Railway with their TPO Set. You also get to ride on the TPO as well, great fun !

Waiting in the dark. 1930s car in the siding. Depicts two of the coupled 1930s Mail Rail units in a siding at Paddington Station. A difficult image to capture, largely due to the oppressive darkness in the tunnel, the actual exposure took some six minutes to execute with the train and the tunnel being evenly bathed in torchlight. Fungal and crystalline growths form on the sides of the mail containers that were once handled by hundreds of hands. Image ©Bradley Photography, Northumberland.

Waiting in the dark

1930s car in the siding Depicts two of the coupled 1930s units in a siding at Paddington Station. A difficult image to capture, largely due to the oppressive darkness in the tunnel, the actual exposure took some six minutes to execute with the train and the tunnel being evenly bathed in torchlight. Fungal and crystalline growths form on the sides of the mail containers that were once handled by hundreds of hands. Image ©Bradley Photography, Northumberland. Part of a selection of images on…