Historical Works

A selection of historical works with a postal connection, including a number of classic early histories.

Also included in this section are biographies, historical letters and documents, links to legislation, and miscellaneous contemporary works and reports on various aspects of the Post Office.

Post Office Histories

The Development of Rates of Postage, An Historical and Analytical Study
[456pp, 31MB, 1917]

The Royal Mail to Ireland
Edward Watson
[290pp, 13.1MB, 1917]

The Development of the Post Office
Fabian Research Department
[72pp, 11.3MB, 1916]

The History of the British Post Office
[284pp, 6.5MB, 1912]

The Post Office and its Story; An Interesting A/C of the Activities of a Great Govt Dept
Edward Bennett
[424pp, 15.0MB, 1912]

The King's Post - the Posts of Bristol from 1580
[386pp, 15.4MB, 1905]

History of the Post-Office Packet Service Between the Years 1793-1815
Arthur H.Norway
[346pp, 5.8MB, 1895]

Forty Years at the Post-Office (Vol 1)
[374pp, 49MB, 1895]

Forty Years at the Post-Office (Vol 2)
[376pp, 51MB, 1895]

On the Track of the Mail Coach
[370pp, 4.1MB, 1895]
"Reminiscences, personal and otherwise"

The Post in Grant and Farm
James Wilson Hyde
[384pp, 5.4MB, 1894]
The early posts c.1590-1677

The History of the Post Office from its Estab­lishment Down to 1836
Herbert Joyce
[480pp, 30MB, 1893]
One of the classic histories of the Post Office

The Last of the Mail Coach Guards
Moses Nobbs
[54pp, 744KB, 1891]
Short book of reminiscences (Project Gutenberg)

The Royal Mail, its Curiosities and Romance
James Wilson Hyde
[448pp, 8.0MB, 1885]
2nd edition

Her Majesty's Mails - An Historical and Descrip­tive Account of the British Post-Office
William Lewins
[367pp, 10.1MB, 1865]
Expanded 2nd edition

An Historical Summary of the Post Office in Scotland
[23pp, 833KB, 1856]

St Martin's-le-Grand – The Post Office Magazine

This quarterly magazine was published from 1890 to 1933 (having been preceded by a monthly magazine called Blackfriars from 1885). This was not an official Post Office publication, but was produced by and aimed at Post Office employees, although it had subscribers across the globe. It contained a wide range of articles on postal-related matters – contemporary and historical, at home or abroad.

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 1
[307pp, 10.0MB, 1891]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 2
[415pp, 16.5MB, 1892]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 3
[485pp, 23.6MB, 1893]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 4
[524pp, 30MB, 1894]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 5
[579pp, 22.0MB, 1895]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 6
[553pp, 21.6MB, 1896]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 7
[523pp, 26MB, 1897]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 8
[523pp, 23.0MB, 1898]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 9
[519pp, 23.2MB, 1899]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 10
[515pp, 22.5MB, 1900]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 11
[516pp, 23.2MB, 1901]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 12
[499pp, 23.7MB, 1902]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 13
[535pp, 37MB, 1903]

St Martin's-le-Grand Vol 14
[545pp, 35MB, 1904]

Historical Letters

This section contains a collection of letters covering the period from approximately 1440 to 1505, assembled and published by John Fenn in five volumes, in which many of the famous Paston letters were originally published.


The New Post Office
Gentlemans Magazine
[12pp, 1.4MB, 1829]
Article from the magazine

Illustrations of the Site and Neighbourhood of the New Post Office
[79pp, 23.8MB, 1830]
Maps and history of St. Martin's-le-Grand

A General Plan for a Mail Communication by Steam
James MacQueen
[155pp, 4.4MB, 1838]
Plan for overseas mails by founder of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. in 1839

The General Post Office London
Illustrated London News
[23pp, 8.1MB, 1844]
22 and 29 June, transcribed by Allan Oliver

Cheap Telegraphs; or Telegrams for the Million
United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company
[15pp, 393KB, 1861]
Advert in the form of an essay on cheap telegrams!

The Post Office and the Electric Telegraph
[81pp, 3.2MB, 1867]
Contemporary argument for 'nationalisation' of the telegraph system

Report on the Financial Administration of the British Post Office
[38pp, 19.1MB, 1887]
Report prepared for the Canadian PMG

The Life and Letters of Henry Cecil Raikes, Late Her Majesty's Postmaster-General
Henry St John Raikes
[444pp, 26MB, 1898]

Hendon to Windsor Aerial Post Notice
[1pp, 220KB, 1911]
Transcription of the original notice

A Beacon for the Blind, a life of Henry Fawcett
Winifred Holt
[411pp, 17.2MB, 1915]
Biography of the blind Postmaster-General

Life and Letters of Sir John Henniker Heaton
Mrs Adrian Porter
[354pp, 7.0MB, 1916]
One of the great postal reformers

Better Air Mails
London Chamber of Commerce
[12pp, 2.3MB, 1934]
Campaigning leaflet

Reduce the Air Mail Rates
Sir Murray Fraser Sueter
[4pp, 1.1MB, 1934]
Leaflet by chairman of the Parliamentary Air Ctte.

G-men of the GPO
[260pp, 12.2MB, 1937]
Reminiscences of a Chief Investigator of the Investigation Branch

Letters in Transit
Frank Singleton
[36pp, 12.1MB, 1944]
Wartime mail handling, part of British Council series "Britain Advances"

William Dockwra and the Rest of the Undertakers
[69pp, 2.3MB, 1952]
The story of the Penny Post of 1680-82

Links to Legislation of the British Isles Available Free on the Internet
John Copeland
[45pp, 900KB, 2022]