The People's Post (MP3)
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A 15-part BBC Radio 4 series exploring the origins of the Post Office, how it became a cherished national institution, and how it adapted to globalisation and commercialisation. It s called Royal Mail but it should be known as the People s Post. Launched in 1516 by Henry VIII, it was intended to support royal communications and bolster intelligence. It was only a rise in literacy, trade and interest that stimulated a demand for a public service, and it wasn t until the advent of the Penny Black in 1840 that it became affordable to the general public. Over the centuries, the Post Office has become a much-loved social institution, linking people together and extending their vision outward into the wider world. How the people made it their own is a fascinating story that has not been told.
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