The People's Post
Throughout its history, the Post Office has been a consistently progressive and democratising force in society. Launched in 1516 by Henry VIII, the Royal Mail was intended to support official communications and bolster intelligence. It was only a rise in literacy, trade and interest that stimulated a demand for a public service.
It became a vehicle for literacy, free speech, commerce and communications in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before evolving into a kind of prototypical welfare state in the early twentieth century, when it was the largest employer in the world. The Post Office has become a cherished social institution, linking people together and extending their vision outward into the wider world.
This online exhibition was produced to provide further information on the themes explored in The People's Post, a 15 episode series airing on BBC Radio 4 at 13:45, Monday-Friday from 5-23 December 2011. Further material can be found on our blog and Flickr.