Parcel Rates 1883-1966

Introduction


11d George VI stamp issued for this second weight step rate, 1947
Parcels have been carried from time immemorial by carriers, whose business in this respect was not affected by the setting up of a state letter service in 1635. London's first organised parcel service was part of the private Penny Post of Dockwra and partners in 1680 -- two years later this was taken over by the Post Office, but under a review of 1794 the service was restricted to the carriage of letters.

In 1837 a highly organised parcel service was introduced by the London Parcels Delivery Company. Two years later, postal reformer Henry Cole proposed the introduction of a government Uniform Parcel Post; but this was not pursued because of vigorous objections by railway companies and other parcel carriers. Rowland Hill also urged the establishment of a state parcel service, partly met by the introduction of a Book Post in 1848.

In 1880, the countries of the Universal Postal Union agreed to set up an International Parcel Post. This meant that the British Post Office had to operate a parcels service, too; and, by 1882, plans were under way for its introduction in the following year.

The new inland Parcels Post (as it was called at first) was introduced on 1st August 1883. It was to serve every place in the kingdom, and planning for this was a major task. Every post office had to be enlarged or fitted out for sorting parcels, and every counter provided with scales to weigh them. As the railway companies took 55% of the postage on postal parcels they carried, the Post Office had to set up many new road services by van and cart. Every Letter Carrier's walk had to be altered, so he did not have to carry too heavy a load. The men were given a new name -- in future, as they would no longer just be carrying letters, they were to be called 'Postmen'.

Registration of parcels was introduced on 1st June 1891.

Rates

Date Rates Date Rates Date Rates Date Rates
1883
(1 Aug)
3d - 1lb
6d - 2lb
9d - 5lb
1s - 7lb
1886
(1 May)
3d - 1lb
4d - 2lb
6d - 3lb
7d - 4lb
9d - 5lb
10d - 6lb
1s - 7lb
1s 1d - 8lb
1s 3d - 9lb
1s 4d - 10lb
1s 6d - 11lb
1897
(1 Jun)
3d - 1lb
4d - 2lb
5d - 3lb
6d - 4lb
7d - 5lb
8d - 6lb
9d - 7lb
10d - 8lb
11d - 9lb
1s - 11lb
1906
(2 Jul)
3d - 1lb
4d - 2lb
5d - 3lb
6d - 5lb
7d - 7lb
8d - 8lb
9d - 9lb
10d - 10lb
11d - 11lb
1915
(1 Nov)
4d - 1lb
5d - 2lb
6d - 3lb
7d - 5lb
8d - 7lb
9d - 8lb
10d - 9lb
11d - 10lb
1s - 11lb
1918
(3 Jun)
6d - 3lb
9d - 7lb
1s - 11lb
1920
(1 Jun)
9d - 2lb
1s - 5lb
1s 3d - 8lb
1s 6d - 11lb
1923
(14 May)
6d - 2lb
9d - 5lb
1s - 8lb
1s 3d - 11lb
1935
(1 Jul)
6d - 3lb
7d - 4lb
8d - 5lb
9d - 6lb
10d - 7lb
11d - 8lb
1s - 15lb
1940
(1 Jul)
7d - 3lb
8d - 4lb
9d - 5lb
10d - 6lb
11d - 7lb
1s - 8lb
1s 1d - 15lb
1947
(1 Jun)
8d - 3lb
9d - 4lb
10d - 5lb
11d - 6lb
1s - 7lb
1s 1d - 8lb
1s 2d - 15lb
1947
(29 Dec)
9d - 3lb
11d - 4lb
1s - 5lb
1s 1d - 6lb
1s 2d - 7lb
1s 3d - 8lb
1s 4d - 15lb
1950
(31 Jul)
10d - 3lb
1s - 4lb
1s 2d - 5lb
1s 3d - 6lb
1s 4d - 7lb
1s 5d - 8lb
1s 6d - 15lb
1951
(1 Jul)
11d - 3lb
1s 1d - 4lb
1s 3d - 5lb
1s 5d - 6lb
1s 6d - 7lb
1s 7d - 8lb
1s 8d - 15lb
1952
(31 Mar)
11d - 2lb
1s 1d - 3lb
1s 3d - 4lb
1s 5d - 5lb
1s 7d - 6lb
1s 9d - 7lb
1s 10d - 8lb
1s 11d - 11lb
2s - 15lb
1953
(7 Apr)
1s - 2lb
1s 2d - 3lb
1s 4d - 4lb
1s 6d - 5lb
1s 8d - 6lb
1s 10d - 7lb
1s 11d - 8lb
2s - 11lb
2s 1d - 15lb
1954
(12 Apr)
1s 1d - 2lb
1s 3d - 3lb
1s 6d - 4lb
1s 8d - 5lb
1s 10d - 6lb
2s - 7lb
2s 1d - 8lb
2s 3d - 11lb
2s 4d - 15lb
1956
(1 Jan)
1s 3d - 2lb
1s 5d - 3lb
1s 8d - 4lb
1s 11d - 5lb
2s 1d - 6lb
2s 3d - 7lb
2s 6d - 8lb
2s 8d - 11lb
2s 9d - 15lb
1956
(1 Jun)
1s 4d - 2lb
1s 6d - 3lb
1s 9d - 4lb
2s - 5lb
2s 3d - 6lb
2s 6d - 7lb
2s 9d - 8lb
3s - 15lb
1957
(1 Oct)
1s 6d - 2lb
1s 9d - 3lb
2s - 4lb
2s 3d - 5lb
2s 9d - 7lb
3s - 8lb
3s 3d - 11lb
3s 6d - 15lb
1961
(1 Oct)
2s - 2lb
2s 3d - 3lb
2s 6d - 4lb
2s 9d - 5lb
3s - 6lb
3s 3d - 7lb
3s 6d - 8lb
3s 9d - 11lb
4s - 15lb
1963
(29 Apr)
2s - 2lb
2s 3d - 3lb
2s 6d - 4lb
2s 9d - 5lb
3s - 6lb
3s 6d - 8lb
4s - 10lb
4s 6d - 12lb
5s - 15lb
5s 9d - 18lb
6s 6d - 22lb
1965
(17 May)
2s 9d - 2lb
3s - 3lb
3s 3d - 4lb
3s 6d - 6lb
4s - 8lb
4s 6d - 10lb
5s 6d - 14lb
6s 6d - 18lb
7s 6d - 22lb

Summary and rates reproduced by courtesy of Post Office Archives.