The BPMA holds about 40 motor vehicles (excluding motorcycles) of various shapes, sizes and models. Our earliest original vehicle dates from the 1930s but we also hold a replica of a 1910 Dennis van. In addition to the vehicles themselves, our archive holds many important documents about the development of motorised mail transportation.
Until the First World War, the Post Office relied on contractors to provide vehicles and drivers for transporting the mail by road. Shortly before the war the idea of the Post Office owning its own fleet of motor vehicles was mooted but dismissed. Improvements in the technology and reliability of motor vehicles during the First World War meant that the situation changed.
In the 1920s a fleet of Fords were acquired and became the first large-scale vehicle purchase for postal operations. Ford stopped manufacturing their T and TT models in 1927. The Post Office eventually turned to the British manufacturer Morris as their preferred supplier. Morris vehicles formed the bulk of the Post Office fleet from then onwards until after the Second World War.
Of course not all Post Office motor vehicles were simply for transporting mail. The first ones were in fact owned by the Post Office stores department.
Examples from our Collection
Here are some examples of items in our collection relating to motorised vehicles: