Royal Mail is one of the oldest and most iconic companies in the United Kingdom, with a rich and storied history stretching back centuries. From its humble origins as a series of horse-drawn post coaches, Royal Mail has grown to become the country’s primary postal operator, delivering billions of items every year. We’ll take a look at some of the most interesting and surprising facts about this British institution. So, without further ado, let’s get right into the list!
1. Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal systems in the world!
The Royal Mail is one of the oldest postal systems in the world that is still running.
It has been around for over 500 years!Embed from Getty Images
2. The postal service was created in 1516 when Henry VIII was King!
The postal service started in 1516 when Henry VIII was in power.
It was when he knighted the first Master of the Posts.
The first Master of the Posts was Sir Brian Tuke.
He would begin to organise the postal system and work out which would be the important post towns across the country.
Embed from Getty Images
3. The postal system was only for Royal use at the start.
The public haven’t always been allowed to use Royal Mail or a postal system.
In the beginning, only the King and the Royal Court could use it. The Royal Court is the Royal household.
The public couldn’t use it for over 100 years.Embed from Getty Images
4. Charles l opened up the postal service to the public in 1635.
As you have learnt above, the postal service wasn’t available to the public in the beginning.
We can thank Charles l because he decided to open it up for the public too.
This made communication much easier.Embed from Getty Images
Find out what the letters might have said in 1914 below!
5. The postal service was named Royal Mail in 1784.
Royal Mail hasn’t always been called Royal Mail.
According to the Royal Mail website, it was named this in 1784.
This was when their mail coaches became a familiar sight across the country.Embed from Getty Images
6. Royal Mail used to have an underground postal train!
Under the streets of London was a Royal Mail postal train line!
This was used to take letters across London.
The line went from Paddington to Whitechapel.
It started running from 1927 and was stopped in 2003.
You can still visit the line today! Take a trip to The Postal Museum and Mail Rail.
You will journey back in time through the original tunnels and station platforms of London’s 100-year-old postal railway.
7. In 1840 the sender had to start paying for postage.
1840 was a very important year in the postal system!
Before this, the receiver of the letter had to pay for the postage.
However, when the first ever adhesive stamp was invented, The Penny Black, it meant that the sender would have to pay for postage.
This is how it still works today!
8. Royal Mail uses postcodes to sort letters and parcels.
Every address has a postcode. That is the letters and numbers at the end of your address!
Postcodes haven’t always been around! There was a trial in Norwich in 1959.
It worked so well that during 1965 and 1974, postcodes were rolled out to every British address.
They would allow all mail to be sorted by machine which would save a lot of time and make the system more accurate.
There are over 48 million combinations!Embed from Getty Images
9. Before postboxes, people would give their letters to The Bellman.
When you want to post a letter, you usually head straight for the postbox or Post Office.
Before the postbox existed, people would either take their letters to a Receiving House (which was a bit like the Post Office) or they would wait for The Bellman.
The Bellman wore a special uniform and would ring a bell to tell everyone he was there!
He would then collect all of the letters.Embed from Getty Images
10. Postboxes were once green!
Postboxes haven’t always been red… however they did start off that way.
When postboxes were first trialled in 1852, they were red. However, future postboxes were green!
This was an issue as people had trouble finding them. They were camouflaged.
They were changed back to red in 1874.Embed from Getty Images
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