Royal Mail Routes


Route Map When an outsider by the name of John Palmer with the aid of William Pitt, the younger, forced a reluctant Post Office to use the Mail Coach, he brought about a revolution in postal transportation. The change to the Mail Coach in 1784 marked a new era in postal facilities. The Royal Mail coach became the last word in travel and in the carriage of the mail. This revolution could only take place because of the great improvement in the roads due to turnpike legislation between 1750 and 1773, and improvement in road construction techniques developed by Telford and MacAdam.

The first mail route was over the route to popular Bath including a leg onto Bristol beginning August 2, 1784. This proved so successful that Pitt authorized other mail routes. Mail coaches were established on the Norfolk and Suffolk roads in March 1785. Two months later the cross post between Bristol and Portsmouth was running. Mail coach services were extended to Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool in the summer of 1785. Before October 1785 coaches were running to Glouchester and Swansea, Carmarthen and Milford Haven, Worcester, Birmingham and Shrewsbury, Oxford, Chester and Holyhead, Carlisle, Dover and Exeter. The Great North Road was the last to receive the improvement in summer of 1786. The journey of some 400 miles to Edinburg was completed in 60 hours. Before 1750 mail on this road took 85 hours going North; in 1757 the time had shortened to 82 hours.


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