A Brief History of Royal Mail – By Mailcoms
History of Royal Mail
From Master of the Posts to the Privitisation of the Royal Mail, view our brief History of Royal Mail right here.
- February 1st, 1512 – Master of the Posts – Henry VIII’s Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, established the new position of “Master of the Posts” in 1512. The first person to serve this role was Brian Tuke.
- July 31st, 1635 – Royal Mail Founded – The founder of Royal Mail, King Charles I, made Royal Mail available to the UK public. Post was originally paid by the recipient, not the sender of mail.
- 1661 – General Post Office Established & Postmark Introduced – Charles II’s reforms changed the Royal Mail. A new fixed rate for sending letters, the first General Post Office and the introduction of a Postmark were some of the changes occurring to Royal Mail.
- August 2nd, 1784 – First mail Coach – The first ever Mail Coach was introduced in 1784, from London to Bristol. The Coach would travel for around 16 hours to reach its destination.
- 1830 – Rail takes Mail – The first ever mail train began, travelling from Liverpool to Manchester.
- May 6th, 1840 – First Stamp & Uniform Postage – the first ever stamp was created called the Penny Black. As well as this, the introduction of uniform postage changed how mail was paid. Both reforms altered how the mail system worked in the UK.
- 1852 – First Pillar Post Box – The first ever Pillar Post Box was introduced, and this allowed people to deposit their post in them, instead of travelling far distances. Wall Boxes came 4 years later in 1856.
- September 1st, 1861 – Post Office Bank – The Post Office created a new Post Office Savings Bank, giving all of the British public banking facilities.
- 1870 – Moving Beyond Mail – The Post Office created a new telegraph service, moving away from delivering just mail items.
- 1884 – First Franking Patent – Norwegian citizen Engle Frankmussler (Edward Franks) gained a patent for the first ever Franking Machine.
- 1909 – Collect a Pension – Pensioners in the UK could collect their pensions from any Post Office. 500,000 pensioners used this service in 1909.
- September 11, 1911 – Beginning of Airmail – The first ever airmail service began from Hendon to Windsor. This lasted for only 1 month.
- 1912 – Phone Service taken over – The Post Office took over the national telephone service in the UK for £12,515,246.
- April 1912 – RMS Titanic Sinks – The Royal Mail Ship Titanic, sank in 1912. It had a post office and sorting office on the ship where over 1,500 people died. 5 Post Office workers were on bored during the disaster.
- 1914 – 1918 – World War 1 – Even WW1 didn’t stop mail being sent and received. Soldiers sent large amounts of mail, and this was called Soldiers Mail. Over 20,000 UK women worked for Royal Mail during WW1.
- December 3rd, 1927 – Mail Rail opens – The Post Office Railway opened in 1927, driving underground and for 6.5 miles below London.
- June 6th, 1934 – Rocket Mail – The Post Office created an experiment to send mail by a rocket in the UK. This experiment failed, unsurprisingly.
- 1939 – 1945 – World War 2 – WW2 proved a challenge for the Post Office who worked during the war. The Central Office of the General Post Office was destroyed in 1940, but its telegraph network grew. The first electronic computer was built with the help of the Post Office Research Station.
- 1959 – Postcodes – The Post Office introduced the first ever postcodes due to increasing volumes. Norwich would be the first city with postcodes.
- August 8th, 1963 – The Great Train Robbery – A gang of 15 robbed a Royal Mail train and they took off with £2.6 million in notes.
- October 8th, 1965 – Post Office Tower – The creation of the Post Office tower was introduced by the Prime Minister.
- 1981 – Postman Pat – Postman pat Debuts in 1981, proving a huge hit on BBC1.
- 1995 – Franked Mail Letter Boxes – The introduction of franked letter boxes were designed for franked mail and they can be found today.
- 2004 – SmartStamp – The UK’s first ever digital stamp was released. This was designed for businesses who didn’t want to frank or stamp mail. In 2006, a online postage system was introduces, allowing people to pay and download their stamps online.
- 2012 – London Olympics – The London Olympics helped introduce the first ever bespoke stamps for each of the UK’s gold medals.
- October 15th, 2013 – Royal Mail Privitised – Because of the Postal Services Act 2011, The Royal Mail was privitised for the first time ever in its history. The shares were listed on London Stock Exchange, but the UK government still hold 38% of the corporation.
- 2014 – Mailmark! – The new Mailmark Service is released for franking machines by the Royal Mail. This offers users more franking benefits and is owned by Royal Mail.