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British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive

Post Office: Private Office Papers: Rowland Hill


Reference code(s): GB 0813 POST 100 Series

Held at: British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive

Title: Post Office: Private Office Papers: Rowland Hill

Date(s): 1836-1879

Level of description: Series

Extent: 40 volumes, 239 files

Name of creator(s):

No further information available


Administrative/Biographical history:

Rowland Hill is remembered today as a key reformer of the British Postal Service. In 1840, he introduced the Universal Penny Postage which decreed that letters of a given weight should all cost the same to send, regardless of the distance. For example, letters up to ounce cost 1d (14gms/0.5p) to send and postage was prepaid, using the world's first adhesive stamp.

He first advocated his plan in a pamphlet published in 1837 and the system was recommended for adoption by a Committee of the House of Commons the following year and put into effect in 1840. Hill was appointed as adviser to the Treasury to introduce the postal reforms. He strove to create a more efficient postal service that everyone could afford. His reforms ranged from encouraging people to insert letter boxes in their front doors to creating London's first postal districts. The appointment was terminated following a change of government in 1842. He was recalled to the Post Office in 1846 and appointed Secretary to the Postmaster General, and succeeded Colonel Maberly as Secretary to the Post Office in 1854. He retired from Office in 1864 and died in August, 1879.


Scope and content/abstract:

This series of records comprises the private office papers of Rowland Hill including, Rowland Hill's Post Office Journals, extracts from the volumes of Secretary's minutes to the Postmaster General and some original documentation relating to those minutes, volumes of Rowland Hill's minutes to the Postmaster General, correspondence and general material relating particularly to postal reform and including a copy of all volumes of 'History of Penny Postage' by Sir Rowland Hill, KCB (published by William Clowes & Sons).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Please see Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Public Record

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Please contact the Archive for further information.


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Please contact the Archive for further information.


Existence and location of copies:

Some of the items in this series are available on microfilm for viewing in the Search Room.


Archivist's note: Entry checked by Barbara Ball

Rules or conventions:

Compiled in compliance with General Internation Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G) second edition 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions: Entry checked June 2011

Personal papers | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Post offices | Postal services | Communication industry
Public buildings

Personal names
Hill | Sir | Rowland | 1795-1879 | Knight | Inventor of Penny Postage

Corporate names