Royal Mail Tracking

Mail Tracking

History of Royal Mail

History of Royal Mail
History of Royal Mail

The Royal Mail was founded by Henry VIII in 1516 when he established a "Master of the Posts" which eventually became known as the Office of the Postmaster General. The service became public under the reign of Charles I in 1635, which created the funding by charging postage to the recipients of the mail. The Royal Mail then fell under the control of Thomas Witherings until the 1640’s when the British Parliament removed him from control and established Edmund Prideaux, a lawyer and noted parliamentarian who eventually rose to become Attorney General.

Prideaux maintained control by methods both legal and illegal that helped improve the efficiency of the service. But such efforts didn’t last as Parliament once again changed control over to John Manley in 1653 under the rule of Oliver Cromwell’s government. His tenure didn’t last two years as control of the service was switch to Secretary of State John Thurloe and by 1657 both Ireland and Scotland fell officially under the government and the monopoly of the Post Office was extended to those countries.

After the restoration of the monarchy, all the acts and ordinances passed by parliament under the rule of Cromwell were abrogated and the General Post Office (GPO) was officially established by Charles II in 1660.

The expansion of Britain’s postal efforts between 1719 and 1763 happened under the guidance of Ralph Allen, the Postmaster of Bath. He utilized the resource of both Williams & Company of Bath and Wilson & Company of London to organize mail delivery by coaches. The first mail coach between Bristol and London began in 1784 and the mail first started delivery by train in 1830. This eventually led to bicycles being used to deliver mail in 1880, followed by air mail in 1919.

The next most significant change occurred in 1840 when the Uniform Penny Post was enacted, which established a single delivery rate for anywhere in Great Britain or Ireland was pre-paid by the sender. This led quickly to the postage stamp which indicated that the sender’s payment was verified, Great Britain became the first country to use the postage stamp, which is why the countries’ name does not appear on them.

The first free standing post box or “pillar box” as they are better known appeared in 1852. They are distinctive by their bright red color and are still widely in use today.

Services other than mail deliver started forming in the Post Office when they began the telegraph service in 1870 and the telephone service began in 1912.
The Post Office Act of 1969 changed the General Post Office from a government department to a statutory corporation, more commonly known as the Post Office.

By the 1980’s, British Telecom and Girobank were removed from the control of the Post Office and sold separately.  Attempts at privatization of the Post Office were unsuccessful and these events eventually led to the Postal Services Act of 2000, where the Post Office was formed into a limited public company called Consignia. The name proved to be highly unpopular and even provoked a boycotting by the Communication Workers Union. In 2002, the name was changed to what we know the service today as, the Royal Mail Group.

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