The Uniform Penny Post was a component of the comprehensive reform of the Royal Mail, the UK's official postal service, that took place in the 19th century. The reforms were a government initiative to eradicate the abuse and corruption of the existing service. Under the reforms, the postal service became a government monopoly, but it also became more accessible to the British population at large through setting a charge of one pennyfor carriage and delivery between any two places in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland irrespective of distance.
Richard Cobden and John Ramsey McCulloch, both advocates of free trade, attacked the Conservative government's policies of privilege and protection, including their archaic postal system. McCulloch, in 1833, advanced the view that "nothing contributes more to facilitate commerce than the safe, speedy and cheap conveyance of letters."The campaign for cheap postage was actually initiated by Robert Wallace, who in 1835 argued, before a governmental commission set up to investigate the problems, that greater use of the mailing system would lead to increased revenue for the government.
Sir Rowland Hill expounded his concept for the reformed service at a meeting of the commission on February 13, 1837, and published a famous pamphlet Post Office Reform: its Importance and Practicability late that year. In 1838 Hill made a proposal to parliament in which he suggested that "the postage on all letters received in a post-town, and delivered in the same, or any other post-town in the British Isles, shall be at the uniform rate of one penny per half ounce".However, Hill did not include a specific timetable for the introduction of a "penny post" in his proposal, nor did he suggest a plan for its implementation. Nonetheless, Hill's 1838 proposal paved the way for the 1840 Act which introduced the Uniform Penny Post.
In his proposal, Hill also called for official pre-printed envelopes and adhesive postage stamps as alternative ways of getting the sender to pay for postage, at a time when prepayment was optional.Previously, postage had depended on distance and the number of sheets of paper; now, one penny would assure delivery of an envelope and the letter it enclosed anywhere in the country provided together they satisfied the weight condition. This was a lower rate than before, when the cost of postage was usually more than 4d (four pence). The reform did not settle the issue of who paid for the postage, as it still remained optional for a number of years in spite of Hill's efforts as Secretary to the Post Office to alter the situation.
As of 2013 the value of one penny in 1840 ranges from 32p (GBP) to 4.89 (GBP); the latter based on mean income. It would appear that the cost to an established semi-skilled man of sending a letter in 1840 can be represented by approximately 1.00 (GBP) in 2013 values
This however was a lower cost than previously and made postal communication more affordable to the increasing numbers of people capable of reading and writing as a consequence of public education. Financially, the penny post scheme initially was a disaster. However, Hill made the case that if letters were cheaper to send, people, including the poorer classes, would send more of them, thus eventually profits would go up. [ citation needed ]In 1840, the first year of Penny Post, the number of letters sent in the UK more than doubled. Within 10 years, it had doubled again. The BBC states, “Hill had shown that the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid was there to be mined.” The other benefits were the encouragement and support that the availability of cheap letterpost communication gave to the development of transport links, education, commerce and social cohesion.
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay postage, who then affix the stamp to the face or address-side of any item of mail—an envelope or other postal cover —that they wish to send. The item is then processed by the postal system, where a postmark or cancellation mark—in modern usage indicating date and point of origin of mailing—is applied to the stamp and its left and right sides to prevent its reuse. The item is then delivered to its addressee.
A first day of issue cover or first day cover (FDC) is a postage stamp on a cover, postal card or stamped envelope franked on the first day the issue is authorized for use within the country or territory of the stamp-issuing authority. Sometimes the issue is made from a temporary or permanent foreign or overseas office. Covers that are postmarked at sea or their next port of call will carry a Paquebot postmark. There will usually be a first day of issue postmark, frequently a pictorial cancellation, indicating the city and date where the item was first issued, and "first day of issue" is often used to refer to this postmark. Depending on the policy of the nation issuing the stamp, official first day postmarks may sometimes be applied to covers weeks or months after the date indicated.
An envelope is a common packaging item, usually made of thin, flat material. It is designed to contain a flat object, such as a letter or card.
The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was first issued in the United Kingdom, on 1 May 1840, but was not valid for use until 6 May. The stamp features a profile of Queen Victoria.
Indian postal systems for efficient military and governmental communications had developed long before the arrival of Europeans. When the Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish and British conquered the Marathas who had already defeated the Mughals, their postal systems existed alongside those of many somewhat independent states. The British East India Company gradually annexed the other powers on the sub-continent and brought into existence a British administrative system over most of modern-day India, with a need to establish and maintain both official and commercial mail systems.
Mulready stationery describes the postal stationery letter sheets and envelopes that were introduced as part of the British Post Office postal reforms of 1840. They went on sale on 1 May 1840, and were valid for use from 6 May. The Mulready name arises from the fact that William Mulready, a well-known artist of the time, was commissioned to illustrate the part of the letter sheets and envelopes which corresponded with the face area.
Postage stamps and postal history of Great Britain surveys postal history from the United Kingdom and the postage stamps issued by that country and its various historical territories until the present day.
The Penny Post is any one of several postal systems in which normal letters could be sent for one penny. Five such schemes existed in the United Kingdom while the United States initiated at least three such simple fixed rate postal arrangements.
James Chalmers was a Scotsman who it was claimed, by his son, was the inventor of the adhesive postage stamps.
Scinde Dawk was a very old postal system of runners that served the Indus Valley of Sindh, an area of present-day Pakistan. The term also refers to the first adhesive postage stamps in Asia, the forerunners of the adhesive stamps used throughout India, Burma, the Straits Settlements and other areas controlled by the British East India Company. The name derives from the words "Scinde", the British spelling of the name of the province of Sindh, and "Dawk", the anglicised spelling of the Hindustani word "Dak" or Post.
Sir Rowland Hill, KCB, FRS was an English teacher, inventor and social reformer. He campaigned for a comprehensive reform of the postal system, based on the concept of Uniform Penny Post and his solution of pre-payment, facilitating the safe, speedy and cheap transfer of letters. Hill later served as a government postal official, and he is usually credited with originating the basic concepts of the modern postal service, including the invention of the postage stamp.
Aden is a city in southern Yemen. Aden's location made it a popular exchange port for mail passing between places around the Indian Ocean and Europe. When Captain S. B. Haines of the Indian Marine, the East India Company's navy, occupied Aden on 19 January 1839, mail services were immediately established in the settlement with a complement of two postal clerks and four letter carriers. An interim postmaster was appointed as early as June 1839. Mail is known to exist from 15 June 1839 although a regular postmaster was not appointed until 1857; one of the officials of the Political Agent or the civil surgeon performed the duties of postmaster for a small salary.
In philatelic terminology a letter sheet, often written lettersheet, is a sheet of paper that can be folded, usually sealed, and mailed without the use of an envelope, or it can also be a similar item of postal stationery issued by a postal authority. Letter sheets derive from the form in which written correspondence was made up before the mid-19th century — letters were written on one or more sheets of paper that were folded and sealed in such a way that the address could be written on the outside.
Pre-adhesive mail, also called pre-stamp mail, are letters carried in mail systems before the issuance of postage stamps. A stampless cover is another description and generally also refers to any item of mail sent before the issuance of postage stamps but it can also refer to mail sent, after the introduction of postage stamps, unpaid or without the pre-payment being indicated by the affixing of a postage stamp; it could have been pre-paid in cash and marked paid.
The Uniform Fourpenny Post was a short-lived uniform pre-paid letter rate in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that lasted for only 36 days from 5 December 1839 until 9 January 1840. The Uniform Fourpenny Post was the first component of the comprehensive reform to the Royal Mail postal service that took place in the 19th century.
A Free Frank was a mark applied by means of a hand-stamp to parliamentary mail in Britain to indicate that the mailed item did not require postage. The privilege of free franking was granted to four different classes: Members of Parliament; peers sitting in the House of Lords; office-holders, largely as stipulated by Acts of Parliament; and to archbishops and bishops sitting in the House of Lords. Requirement for free franking were that the mailed cover had to be signed by the official sender. As a result, free franks were avidly sought during the first three decades of the nineteenth century for autograph collections. This was accomplished by cutting out the front panels of the envelope which carried the inscriptions which were required under the use of this privilege. These panels are referred to by collectors as free fronts.
The London Penny Post was a premier postal system whose function was to deliver mail within London and its immediate suburbs for the modest sum of one penny. The Penny Post was established in 1680 by William Dockwra and his business partner, Robert Murray. Dockwra was a merchant and a member of the Armourer and Brasiers Livery Company and was appointed a Customs Under-Searcher for the Port of London in 1663. Murray would later become clerk in the excise office of the Penny Post. The London Penny Post mail service was launched with weeks of publicity preceding it on 27 March 1680. The new London Penny Post provided the city of London with a much needed intra-city mail delivery system. The new Penny Post was influential in establishing a model system and pattern for the various Provincial English Penny Posts in the years that followed. It was the first postal system to use hand-stamps to postmark the mail to indicate the place and time of the mailing and that its postage had been prepaid. The success of the Penny Post would also threaten the interests of the Duke of York who profited directly from the existing general post office. It also compromised the business interests of porters and private couriers. The Penny Post was also involved in publishing various criticisms towards the British monarchy, the Duke of York in particular, which ultimately led to the take over of the Penny Post by crown authorities. The earliest known Penny Post postmark is dated 13 December 1680 and is considered by some to be the world's first postage 'stamp'.
The Fletcher Collection is Hugh Greenwell Fletcher's lifetime philatelic collection of British postage stamps and British stamps used abroad including overprints and non-stamp items such as postal stationery. On his death in 1968, the collection was bequeathed to the Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham, once the home of Sir Rowland Hill. The collection was donated to the British Library in 1989.
Epaulettes is the colloquial name of the first series of postage stamps issued by Belgium. The stamps, which depicted King Leopold I and his prominent epaulettes from which the type's name derives, became legally usable on 1 July 1849. They were produced as the result of a series of national reforms to the postal system in Belgium, based on the success of similar British reforms in 1840. Two denominations with the same design were issued simultaneously: a brown 10 centimes and a blue 20 centimes. The stamps allowed postal costs to be pre-paid by the sender, rather than the receiver, and led to a sharp increase in the volume of mail. Although quickly superseded by new types, the Epaulettes proved extremely influential and have since inspired several series of commemorative stamps.
The Postage Act 1839 (c.52) was an act of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that came into effect on 17 August 1839 to regulate the postage rates of Great Britain until 5 October 1840 and led to several postal reforms, including the introduction of the Uniform Penny Post and the world's first postage stamps.