How Often Did People Receive Mail in the Victorian Era?

Long before the advent of telephones and e-mail, postal delivery was the primary way in which people stayed in touch -- and they depended on its frequency and regularity. By the end of the 19th century in London, mail was delivered to houses as often as 12 times a day. The first delivery typically began at about 7:30 a.m. and the last one at about 7:30 p.m. “In London, people complained if a letter didn’t arrive in a couple of hours,” said Catherine J. Golden, the author of Posting It: The Victorian Revolution in Letter Writing.

If only junk mail could be refused:

  • In England during the 1830s, postage was calculated by the number of sheets of paper being sent and by the number of miles the postman had to travel.
  • Before stamps were used in the mid-1800s, the person receiving mail had to pay the postman for delivery. The addressee had the option to refuse the mail rather than pay.
  • Official mail service in England began in 1692, when King William III granted the exclusive right to establish and collect a postal tax to an English nobleman.
More Info: New York Times

Discussion Comments


Nowadays replies sent to e-mails from big companies who have many complaints are never delivered. They only give a 'no reply' e-mail address!

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