The Post Office

Designed and etched by Thomas Rowlandson British
Designed and etched by Auguste Charles Pugin British, French
Publisher Rudolph Ackermann, London British

Not on view

England had the world's fastest postal system in the nineteenth century. In 1809 mail coaches averaged eight miles an hour, including five minutes allowed to change horses. This office, housed in a seventeenth-century mansion, handled 170,000 to 200,000 letters weekly, sorting them between 4:30 and 8 pm and delivering them between 6 and 11 the next morning. The recipient paid the delivery man from 4 pence for 15 miles to 1 shilling and 1 pence for 500 miles. In 1840 the British postal system saved itself such complicated bookkeeping by inventing penny stamps for the sender to buy.

The Post Office, Designed and etched by Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London), Hand-colored etching and aquatint

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