Blog

‘Always at Work’: The Post Office Horse

‘He begins his week’s work at four o’clock on Sunday afternoon; he ends it at half-past ten on Sunday morning; and at any time during that long week he is liable for instant service, and has only five and a half hours’ undisturbed rest…that is the only respite he is sure of—just enough, as it… Read More

George Fardo: the legacy of a Victorian Postmaster Poet (and my great grandfather)

 Pictures of George Fardo                                               I can’t remember exactly when I first became aware of my great-great grandfather George Fardo, or that he was the Postmaster of Cardiff from 1889-1898. Our family in Cardiff — where I was born and grew up before moving to London to pursue a career in music aged 19… Read More

Prescribing golf: sport, health, and the Post Office

The Isis Swimming ClubSource: St Martin’s-le-Grand, 13 (1903), 108. Courtesy of The Postal Museum Amongst the pages of St Martin’s-le-Grand – a magazine for Post Office employees which ran from 1890 to 1933 – it is difficult to miss the significance of sport to postal workers. Accounts of sporting fixtures abound, showing the variety of… Read More

Big Data and Working Lives

Letter carrier with dog, silhouette (watercolour). Courtesy of The Postal Museum, London. In the last decade or so big data has become an increasingly common phrase in all manner of academic fields. British history has been no exception. Numerous projects have produced large datasets about various issues including the legacies of slavery, British fertility decline,… Read More

Stealing the mail: crime and welfare in the Victorian Post Office

Dudley Street, Seven Dials Gustave Doré, 1872. Source: Wellcome Images, http://catalogue.wellcomelibrary.org/record=b45, Photo number: L0000881. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Few have heard of the C.I.B. (Confidential Inquiry Branch), the Post Office’s secret service department whose function it was to bring dishonest Post Office employees to justice. The C.I.B…. Read More

Finding Stories

Selby Post Office, 2012 © Jonathan Thacker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.  We discussed in a previous blog how trade union members and Royal Mail employees are responding to the dangers of Covid-19, where criticisms about the lack of PPE, social distancing, and staggered work hours have formed the basis of concerns…. Read More

Fathers and Sons: Post Office Families

Today marks the International Day of Families. As the UN points out at times of crisis, it can be ‘families who bear the brunt of the crisis, sheltering their members from harm… at the same time, continuing their work responsibilities’. For many, family has never felt more important, and to mark this special day we… Read More

City living: What Victorian postal workers can tell us about urban health

The latest worrying figures from the Office for National Statistics show that city-dwellers have the highest mortality rate from Covid-19, with London’s deaths at almost double the next highest regional rate. The hardest-hit local authorities are all in the capital. And the urban-rural divide in health outcomes has a long history: A new paper from… Read More