Dr Edith Shove: “She-Doctor” to the General Post Office

The Central Telegraph Office, General Post Office, London, 1874 Source: Illustrated London News, 12 December 1874 “The practical absurdity of directing a female medical inspector to inquire into and report upon the minute of every ailment which may temporarily incapacitate the rougher sex from a performance of their duties in the Telegraph department.”[1] This excerpt… Read More

‘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

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