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Post Office: Overseas Mails Organisation: Conventions and Articles of Agreement

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0813 POST 46 Series
Held at: British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive
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Full title: Post Office: Overseas Mails Organisation: Conventions and Articles of Agreement
Date(s): 1698-1913
Level of description: Series
Extent: 65 volumes
Name of creator(s):

No further information available


Administrative/Biographical history:

An overseas mail service has been in operation since 1580, before the establishment of the public postal service. A staff of ten Royal Couriers carried letters on affairs of State, or on the business of 'particular merchants' to Dover. At Dover, the postmaster provided horses for returning couriers and vessels for those passing through to Calais.

In 1619 the office of Postmaster General for Foreign Parts was created.

The mail service with foreign countries was not large in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The foreign Post Office, as it was called, had a staff of only four men in 1660. At the time of the Napoleonic wars, the Foreign Office business was barely accounting for 10% of the total net income of the Post Office. Postal connections with other countries were irregular and difficulties were experience in the capturing of letters arriving in ships and in the collection of profits. From the 1690s the government attempted to resolve these problems and extend the service by means of convention with the postal administrations of other countries for the establishment of an overseas service. The Overseas Air Mail service came into operation in 1917, thus after this date the conventions are between The Post Office and overseas postal administration for the transportation of mail by air. These can be found in POST 50/1.


Scope and content/abstract:

This record series comprises copies (mainly published and submitted to the House of Commons) of conventions and articles of agreement made between the Government and/or The Post Office of the United Kingdom and overseas governments and/or postal administrations, for the exchange of mails and the regulation of these services. The conventions lay down the offices of exchange, despatch and delivery times, weight and dimension limits and postage rates.

POST 46/57 relates to the formation of the Universal Postal Union in 1875.

POST 46/62 relates to the establishment of an Imperial Penny Postage, introduced in 1898 and POST 46/63-65 concerns the payments of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company for the conveyance of mail.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

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 Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See Post 51 for contracts between the Postmaster General and shipping companies

and individuals for the conveyance of mail overseas.

See Post 50/1 for air mail agreements

See Post 43 for material on the operation of the packet boat service shipping.

See Post 49 for Overseas Parcel Post. POST 49/1 - 51

See Post 27 for material on Money Orders.

Publication note:

The covering dates on the bindings are often inaccurate and therefore have been altered in the catalogue entries.

Description Notes

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

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