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Introduced in 1784 the mail coach slashed journey times by two thirds, provided a new state of the art form of public transport, and allowed newspapers to reach the provinces within 24 hours. The time-pieces carried by guards also had the unintended consequence of creating standard UK time in the era before GMT.

As Royal Mail faces an uncertain future, Dominic Sandbrook charts the development of the post office and examines its impact on literacy, free speech, commerce and communication.

Writer and Presenter: Dominic Sandbrook

Historical Consultant: Susan Whyman

Musicians: Sam Lee, Bella Hardy, Mick Sands, Nick Hart

Actors:Morgan George, John Sessions, Simon Tcherniak,
Malcolm Tierney, Jane Whittenshaw

Producer: Joby Waldman
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Thu 8 Dec 2011 13:45