General Postal Directories and Guides

John Copeland's extensive listings below provide links to all relevant documents that have been found while searching and are available free on the internet – directories, annual works, guides to places, and some local topographical and historical works.

Specific copies of some important guides are held on the GBPS site.


In 1794 cartographer John Cary was commissioned by the Postmaster General to survey England's roads, resulting in successive editions of Cary's New Itinerary giving the mileages of the main roads, very helpful for working out pre-1840 mileage-based rates. The 1802 volume was used by Alan Robertson in working out his list of mileages.

The volumes by Army officer and cartographer Daniel Paterson also list roads and distances, with a table of postage rates to places from London, and may or may not have involved some plagiarism from Cary!

An Actual Survey of the Great Post Roads Between London and Edinburgh
Mostyn John Armstrong
[192pp, 10.4MB, 1783]

Cary's New Itinerary, 1802 (2nd edition)
John Cary
[783pp, 79MB, 1802]

The Direct and Principal Cross Roads 1803
Daniel Paterson
[607pp, 45MB, 1803]

The Scotch Itinerary Containing the Roads Through Scotland
James Duncan
[205pp, 8.4MB, 1808]

The Direct and Principal Cross Roads 1811
Daniel Paterson
[655pp, 46MB, 1811]

The Post-Office Annual Directory for 1814
[598pp, 49MB, 1814]
London almanac, principal persons, postal information

Cary's New Itinerary, 1815 (6th edition)
John Cary
[716pp, 62MB, 1815]

Cary's New Itinerary, 1817 (7th edition)
John Cary
[745pp, 81MB, 1817]

Cary's New Itinerary, 1819 (8th edition)
John Cary
[770pp, 79MB, 1819]

Cary's New Itinerary, 1821 (9th edition)
John Cary
[797pp, 80MB, 1821]

Post Office London Directory, 1843
[783pp, 125MB, 1843]
London almanac, principal persons, postal information

Universal Post Office Guide
Harris Brothers
[60pp, 2.8MB, 1847]
Early privately printed guide

Lettis's Post Office Guide
[153pp, 3.8MB, 1851]
Early privately printed guide

Principal Streets and Places in London and their Postal Districts (1856)
[49pp, 5.3MB, 1856]

Documents Available Free on the Internet