The second post

Waiting by the door for important news to arrive? The first post would tip through the letterbox early in the morning. Important news not there? Then you would wait patiently for the second post to occur, somewhere between midday and 2pm.

Back in 2002, when the Royal Mail was still part of the state-owned group Consignia (remember them?) they began to abolish second deliveries as part of a £1.2bn cost-cutting plan. The postperson was now only ever going to ring just the once.

(Maybe you don’t remember Consignia: the name only lasted 15 months despite the rebrand costing £2 million.)

Maybe we should be grateful that we get a daily delivery, after all, considering the Royal Mail no longer bothers with telegrams or that many Post Offices. The Royal Mail has to provide a “universal service” delivering to all 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week, at a uniform price, never mind the distance. The volume of letters we send is decreasing, however (blame all this fancy interweb stuff).

Between 2006 and 2012, the volume of letters sent each day by post fell by 25%, from 84 million letters a day in the 2005 peak to 59 million.

That still seems a lot of letters (and parcels and packets) to get into people’s letterboxes every day, but there are rumours flying around that soon you may only get your post three times a week.

Would that be so bad when it feels like the only things the postie delivers now are bills and junk mail? Probably not.

Except when it was your birthday.


3 thoughts on “The second post

  1. Interesting(ish) fact about the stamp chosen to illustrate this entry. The Machin series of postage stamps that feature the image of Elizabeth II has been in use since June 1967. (Called Machin because they were designed by Arnold Machin.) While the image of the Queen has been replaced on coins by an older-looking version, the Queen on the stamps has stayed the same for 50 years. Last time people suggested an update, the Queen said no.

    So, lots of things have changed since 1967, including the vanishing of the second post, but not the stamps.


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