Listen now 15 mins
Episode 5 of 15
In the early 1800s the post office operated an expensive and illogical payment system. This forced letter-writers into ever more imaginative ways of avoiding postage, from using private couriers, to hiding letters in barrels of butter, to sending coded newspapers. MPs were allowed to send letters for free, but as only a signature was required it created a system that was ripe for abuse.
As Royal Mail faces an uncertain future, Dominic Sandbrook charts the development of the post office and examines it's 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.
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