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Postal Worker Records (Occupations)

Nature of Source

Postal services began operations in 1635 with the opening of the 'Royal Mail' by Charles I. Oliver Cromwell established the General Post Office in 1657 but the 'Royal Mail' was later re-established following the restoration. A 'penny post' system was introduced in London in 1680 and across many towns and cities and in 1840, a nationwide postal service was introduced along with postage stamps. Up to 1969 the Post Office was a government department and therefore postal workers were classified as civil servants.

From 1870 notices of civil service recruitment and examinations for all grades including postal staff were recorded in the London Gazette with thousands of searchable editions of the Gazette available online. The Gazette also carried notices of honours and awards including the Imperial Service Medal for non-managerial retiring civil servants including postal workers.

Also see
Directories, Trade, Professional, Telephone & Street
Friendly & Fraternal Society Records
Occupational and Labour Records (Includes links and guidance on calculating historical wage rates and the cost of living)
Trade Union Records

Where Found

The Postal Museum (The Archives holds records relating to the millions employed in the postal service since the 17th century and include appointment books [register of all employees from 1831 to 1956], staff establishment books, pensions and gratuity records, 100,000 photographs, over 700 maps and Post Office magazines. The museum catalogue can be searched here)
The National Archives (Series POST, Records created and used by Royal Mail Group plc and predecessors; POST 58, Post Office: Staff nomination and appointment, 1831-1972; POST 1, applications for pensions)
National Records of Scotland (Records relating to Royal Mail in Scotland. The National Records of Scotland was created on 1 April 2011 by the amalgamation of the National Archives of Scotland [NAS] and General Register Office for Scotland [GROS])
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) (Records relating to Royal Mail in Northern Ireland)
National Archives of Ireland (Information on the postal service in The Republic of Ireland)

Period Covered

1691 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Full name, date of appointment, grade, position held, job title, place of work and career of postal worker.

Further References

Campbell-Smith, Duncan. Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail: Allen Lane, 2011  
Collins, Audrey. Portraits of the English Working Lives: Audrey Collins, 2000 (Including Postmen)  

Websites (The Postal Museum: Royal Mail Archive-Overview Guide) (The Postal Museum: The Postal Museum: Family History Research Guide) (The Postal Museum: Family history) (Royal Mail - from 1516 AD to Present Day) (Buy vintage Post Office Posters from the British Postal Museum and Archive) (Ancestry Message Boards: Occupations)

Online Databases (British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969. In partnership with The British Postal Museum & Archive, the collection includes 1.5 million records listing the employees of one of the world's largest ever employers) (Names extracted from the Post Office Archives consisting of appointments and pensions) (Royal Mail Group Memorial Database: Searchable database of more than 300 individual war memorials in the care of Royal Mail. Searches can be carried out by name, location and keywords)