The Peoples Post (BBC Radio 4 Documentary)

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The People's Post
From BBC Radio 4. Written and Presented by Dominic Sandbrook.
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.
It's called Royal Mail but it should be known as the People's Post.
Episode 1: The Secret Room
During the English Civil War, agents opened and copied letters from suspected dissidents.
Episode 2: The London Penny Post
Penny Post was the first accessible and cheap method for sending mail within the capital.
Episode 3: A Culture of Letters
During the 18th century, an expanding postal network offered new possibilities.
Episode 4: The Mail Coach
Introduced in 1784, the mail coach slashed journey times by two thirds.
Episode 5: Freepost
In the early 1800s, the post office operated an expensive and illogical payment system.
Episode 6: The Penny Black
The arrival of Universal Penny Postage in 1840.
Episode 7: Business Post
Thanks to cheap postage, businesses could advertise and interact with people more directly.
Episode 8: Love Letters
The role of love letters in the history of the Post Office.
Episode 9: A Community Hub
From 1862, the Post Office Savings Bank offers savings accounts to poorer people.
Episode 10: The Postal Worker's Strike
The industrial action of the postmen in 1890.
Episode 11: The Telegrath
In 1870, the telegraph system came under the control of the post office.
Episode 12: The Post Office at War
In 1914, the post office was called upon to play a vital role in the country's war effort.
Episode 13: A Job in a Million
In the 1930s, the GPO was a model employer, offering staff a secure career path.
Episode 14: The Post Code
When a national postcode system was introduced in the 1970s, it met with fierce resistance.
Episode 15: The Last Post
As it sits on the brink of privatisation, what does the Royal Mail mean today? 
The People's Post/The People's Post 01 of 15.mp3 6.517 MB
The People's Post/The People's Post 02 of 15.mp3 6.436 MB
The People's Post/The People's Post 03 of 15.mp3 6.451 MB
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