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Florence Cole as a child

Postmen in working class London in the early 1900s



Based on childhood recollections of working class life in north London in Edwardian times.

Postmen's uniforms

The postman was always in uniform.

Front view of an early 1900s postman showing his dark blue uniform with its uniquely shaped hat.

An early 1900s postman showing his unique peaked hat. Detail from a photo in Nidderdale Museum.

Side view of an early 1900s postman showing his dark blue uniform with its uniquely shaped hat and his special carrying bag.

A postman in the early 1900s, showing his uniform and the special shoulder bag. Photo in my mother's effects.

He wore a hat that was unusual, a sort of graduated peak back and front of very dark blue, almost black. HIs uniform was the same colour, and his trousers had a thin red stripe down the outside of the leg.

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Postmen's rounds

Postmen had a lot of of walking to do, as there were four deliveries a day, with the last one at half past nine at night. Letters were very important in those days as ordinary families did not have telephones. So people would wait for the postman, if they were expecting news from the family.

Early 1900s postman's hand cart used for delivering parcels

A postman's handcart from the early 1900s. Photographed in York Castle Museum.

Postmen carried the letters in bags over their shoulders, but they used hand carts for taking parcels for delivery.

    
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Dreaded letters

Dreaded letters had black-edged envelopes containing black-edged paper, and they brought news of a death - see funerals.

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The Boxing Day tip

It was customary for the postman to call on Boxing Day for his Christmas present called a Christmas Box. This would be just a few coppers.

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is Pat Cryer.