Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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A Postal Innovation

Postmen with Bicycles 1900

Think of the postmen, on foot or bicycle, in all weathers.

 In April 1894 the Postmaster General, issued an order conferring great privileges on the inhabitants of rural and scattered parishes.  Up to that time, out of the urban districts, postmen had been allowed to receive letters from private persons on their rounds, but these had to be carried to the general office for the stamps to be obliterated, involving usually a delay in delivery of many hours.  This was especially annoying to the sender, when the letter was actually carried in the pocket of the postman past the door of the very person to whom it was directed.  Of course, it was possible to bribe the postman to deliver an unstamped letter, but the fear that the authorities might hear of the transaction, rendered such a proceeding rare and dangerous.

Postmen in rural parishes were now to be allowed to cancel such stamps and to deliver the letters at once, provided only they pass the house in their regular rounds.  Of course, the letter had to be stamped before being given to the postman, who was prohibited from carrying unstamped correspondence.

Parcels, also, were able to be carried and delivered in a like manner—a real benefit to the postman who might have to carry a parcel four or five miles to the office and another five or six for delivery.

It was felt that the public would be pleased to see this variation from the old red-tape system.

Note: (We do not think the general public would complain these days about a delay in delivery of many hours)

Sources: IW Observer 21 April 1894, RSHG Archive
Image: The British Postal Museum