Penny Post

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The Penny Post is any one of several postal systems in which normal letters could be sent for one penny.

United Kingdom[edit]

London Penny Post[edit]

Postmark and time stamps from Lime St office

In England, the Post Office had a monopoly on the collection and carriage of letters between post towns but there was no delivery system until the London Penny Post was established in 1680 by William Dockwra and his partner Robert Murray. They established a local post that used a uniform rate of one old penny for delivery of letters and packets weighing up to one pound within the cities of Westminster and London as well as Southwark.[1] There were several deliveries a day within the city, and items were also delivered to addresses up to ten miles outside London for an extra charge of one penny. In 1683, Dockwra was forced to surrender the Penny Post to the English Monarchy for circulating what were considered seditious newsletters sharply criticizing Duke of York, who was in charge of and directly benefited from the General Post Office.[2][3]

Local Penny Post[edit]

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of Penny Posts in any town or city of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. The single postage rate of one penny was charged within the area, calculated by weight.[4] By the beginning of the 19th century there were many of these, identifiable on covers, with markings such as "PP", "Py Post", or "Penny Post" along with the name of the town.[2][3]

The early penny post system in Edinburgh, founded in 1773/4 by Peter Williamson,[3][2] known as "Indian Peter," usefully combined it with one of the world's first street directories.[5] He circulated mail to 17 shops in the city (effectively post offices) and employed 4 uniformed postmen. Their hats read "Penny Post" and were numbered 1,4,8 and 16 to make the business look bigger.

Uniform Fourpenny Post[edit]

On 5 December 1839 the Uniform Fourpenny Post was introduced by the General Post Office but lasted only 36 days until 9 January 1840 when the Uniform Penny Post was introduced.[6]

Uniform Penny Post[edit]

In 1835 Rowland Hill published a pamphlet entitled 'Post Office Reform' which led to various reforms and the introduction of the first postage stamp and convinced Parliament to implement much needed reforms in the current postal system. On 10 January 1840, the Uniform Penny Post was established throughout the UK, facilitating the safe, speedy and cheap conveyance of letters, and from 6 May could be prepaid with the first postage stamp, known as the Penny Black.[7]

Imperial Penny Post[edit]

On Christmas Day, 1898, the Imperial Penny Post extended the rate throughout the British Empire except for Australia and New Zealand, who would not subscribe to it until 1905. In 1908 it was extended to America.[8]

The Penny Post rate ended in Great Britain in 1918.

United States[edit]

In the United States, Spaulding's Penny Post operated in Buffalo, New York from 1847 to 1850.

Davis' Penny Post operated in Baltimore, Maryland for several weeks of February 1856, leaving behind a handful of rare stamps.[9][10]

The Penny Post is the journal of the Carriers and Locals Society, and was also the original name of The Cincinnati Post.

References and source[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "Calendar of Treasury Papers Vol. LXXXII. 1702, Oct.13 - Nov. 30"
  2. ^ a b c "Provincial Penny Posts". The British Postal Museum and Archive. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  3. ^ a b c George Brumell. "Dockwra Family Research Center". The Local Posts of London 1680-1840 by George Brumell. first published in 1938 second edition published by Alcock and Holland. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Key Dates". British Postal Museum & Archive. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  5. ^ Dobson, David. "A Man Called Indian Peter". University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 11 December 2010-12-11. 
  6. ^ "Glossary of Stamp Collecting Terms". AskPhil.org - Collectors Club of Chicago. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  7. ^ Baker, Colin. "Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution Proceedings vol.8 The History of the Postal Services". Royal Literary & Scientific Institution. Retrieved December 12, 2010-12-12. 
  8. ^ "Dictionary of Australian Biography: Sir John Henniker Heaton". Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  9. ^ Davis's Penny Post, Siegal Auction Gallaries, 1999-11-15, p. 196-197, retrieved 2014-05-01 
  10. ^ "Davis's Penny Post, Baltimore, Maryland". Auction catalog. Siegal Auction Galleries. 1999. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
Sources
  • Golden, Catherine J. (2009). Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing. [University Press of Florida]. ISBN 978-0-8130-3379-2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Anon. "Peter Williamson and the Edinburgh Penny Post". Philatelic Journal of Great Britain. (November 1938).
  • Brumell, George. The Local Posts of London 1680-1840. Cheltenham: R. C. Alcock Ltd, 1971 91p.
  • Cochrane, William P. The Glasgow Penny Post, 1800-1845. Hamilton: The Scottish Postal History Society, 2012 ISBN 978-1-9081390-3-0 238p.
  • Cowell, J.B. The Bangor Penny Post, 1814-1840. Gwynedd, Wales: Welsh Philatelic Society, 1977 ISBN 0-904098-01-X 20p.
  • Dittmann, Manfred. Die Dubliner penny post nach offiziellen unterlagen und verschiedenen samumlungen = The Dublin penny post compiled from official and historical data from collections. Munich: Forschungs- und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Irland e.V. im Bund Deutscher Philatelisten e.V., 1992 312p.
  • Holyoake, Alan. Great Britain, the development and introduction of uniform penny postage (1839-1840). Gerrards Cross: the author, 2006 15p.
  • Melville, Fred J. Origins Of The Penny Post. London: Philatelic Institute, 1930 120p.
  • Melville, Fred J. A Penny All The Way. London: W.H. Peckitt, 1908 48p.
  • Phil (A.D. Blackburn). The Penny Postage Jubilee and Philatelic History. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1891 261p.
  • Staff, Frank. The Penny Post, 1680-1918. London: Lutterworth Press, 1964 219p.
  • Todd, Thomas. William Dockwra and the Rest of the Undertakers: The story of the London penny post, 1680-1682. Edinburgh: C. J. Cousland & Sons, 1952 156p.
  • Winmill, R.B. The Evolution of Imperial Penny Postage and the postal history of the Canadian 1898 Map Stamp. Toronto: Jim A. Hennok Ltd., 1982 ISBN 0-919772-00-5 110p.

External links[edit]