Who Founded the Royal Mail?


Quick Answer

The beginnings of Royal Mail can be traced to Brian Tuke’s appointment as "Master of the Posts” in 1512, a position that later became the office of the Postmaster General. The postal service was made available to the public in 1635 through Charles I’s proclamation.

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Who Founded the Royal Mail?
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Full Answer

In 1512, Cardinal Wolsey, acting as King Henry VIII’s Chancellor, appointed Brian Tuke to the newly created position of Master of the Posts. The king instructed Tuke to set up posts in various places across the kingdom, and establish a network of postmasters. On July 31, 1635, Charles I made a royal proclamation that opened up the service to the public. It is on this date that the Royal Mail’s Heritage website acknowledges the company was founded. Charles I charged Thomas Witherings with the task of establishing a public postal system, a monopoly that would last into the 1640s.

In 1660, Charles II officially established the first General Post office 1660. The first Postmaster General was appointed a year later. In 1784, the first mail coach operated between Bristol and London.

Reforms in 1839 introduced a simpler uniform postage rates system based on the weight of the parcel rather than the distance. A single rate for deliveries across Great Britain and Ireland, to be paid by the sender, was introduced in January 1840. June of the same year saw the introduction of the world’s first adhesive stamp known as the Penny Black.

Royal Mail rebranded as Consignia in 2001. Fifteen months later, it was renamed the Royal Mail Group with renewed focus on its three main brands: Royal Mail, Post Office and Parcelforce.

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