Tag Archives: postal reform

Emma Harper (BMPA): A presentation on postal reforms in 19th-century Britain

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An example of a curious address with a rhyme: ‘Now Postman take this letter and don’t get peeking in / It’s for Mr Stafford the Boss of Hatherley Inn / It’s near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and he always has for sale/ Ginger pop and Lolliepops and some Jolly good old ale’


At the symposium What is a Letter? An interdisciplinary approach, Emma Harper, Curator at the British Postal Museum and Archive (London), gave a paper entitled ‘From cross-written letters to human ones: how postal reforms changed the letter’. Ms Harper has kindly agreed that we make her presentation available online.

It contains a range of images relating to letter-writing culture in nineteenth-century Britain, including a photo of a Penny Black (the world’s first postage stamp), of a pillar box from 1852/53, and of an envelope folding machine.

The letters shown in the presentation and more will be available to explore at the Museum’s new archive in 2016 (see www.postalmuseum.org for more information).