General Post Office fonds [textual record (chiefly microform)] [Great Britain]
Record Information – Brief
General Post Office fonds [textual record (chiefly microform)] [Great Britain]
- Hierarchical level:
- R10901-0-0-E, MG44
- Type of material:
- Textual material
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
16 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Place of creation:
- United Kingdom
286 microfilm reels : negative and positive ; 35 mm.
4.443 m of textual records : transcripts.
- Language of material:
- Scope and content:
The fonds consists of transcripts of selected documents from the General Post Office and microfilmed originals of certain "post" classes relating to postal services in British North America (the Canadas, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland) and the United States as well as in other countries of the Empire/Commonwealth. Major topics include: opening, staffing and operation of post offices, transatlantic packet (sea mail) services, sea mails and acts of war, piracy and natural disasters; postal policy, finance and personnel; postmasters general; packet boats; postal services during World War One and the South African War; and customs and contracts with steamship companies. Ten additional microfilm reels, purchased from World Microfilms Publications, consist of selections from the following classes: Post 29, Post 30, Post 43, Post 9, Post 58, Post 59 and Post 88 and Post 97. This material is located on microfilm reels A-2170 to A-2179. This material relates to North American mail service, Newfoundland mail service, Newfoundland cables and telegraphs, wireless telegraphy, cables and cable rates, UK-Canada mail communication, financial accounts, overseas mails, staff nominations and establishments, etc.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Great Britain. General Post Office : By an act of 1710, the postal system throughout the British colonies was controlled by the postmaster general of England. Postal services in British North America were financially subordinate to the British Exchequer and were established in Canada in 1763. At the outbreak of hostilities with the American colonies in 1775, postal services in British North America were disrupted but were resumed with the United States of America upon the conclusion of peace in 1783. Efforts to extend the colonial postal system were hampered by the British General Post Office which alone had the power to establish any postal service in the colonies. The General Post Office preferred to establish postal services only where they were profitable. Nevertheless, there were several studies of the postal services in British North America including the commission established in 1840. Its report, presented in 1841, criticized the uncontrolled power of the representatives of the Postmaster General and was forwarded to the Colonial Office. It was not until 1846, however, that British policy on the colonial postal system was reversed in a proposal to sever relations between the colonial postal system and the General Post Office of Great Britain. In 1851, the provinces became responsible for the post offices within their territories: the Canadas, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In 1867, separate provincial administrations were merged into a single post office for the Dominion of Canada. The General Post Office of Great Britain had its origins in the sixteenth century. Notable stages in the development of the British mail services included the introduction of the London penny post, started privately in 1680, and taken over by the Post Office two years later; mail coaches in 1784, registration in 1839, uniform penny post and postage stamps in 1840, book post in 1848, and parcel post in 1883. The Post Office Act of 1969 abolished the office of postmaster general and converted the Post Office from a department of state into a public corporation, sponsorship of which was made the responsibility of a new Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Current Guide of the Public Record Office, London, England, 1962. Jean Farrugia, A Guide to Post Office Archives, 1986. William Smith, The History of the Post Office in British North America, 1639-1870, New York, 1973.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Paper) Finding aids which are described at the fonds level are those which cover more than one series of documents. Finding aids which relate to one series are described at that level. (90: Open)Textual records (Electronic) Finding aid no. 90, British Records on Microfilm, provides descriptive information about the content of the General Post Office records and is organized by postal class. MSS0090 (90: Open)Textual records (Electronic) Finding aid no. 2001, the Microfilm Shelf Lists, provides information chronologically by reel number. MSS2001 (90: Open)Textual record (Microform) Catalogues prepared by the General Post Office in London, England, describe archival records held by the General Post Office as of 1979, and classes Post 1 to Post 106, for 1672 to 1967. The catalogues provide a brief historical and/or organizational summary sheet of each class and a list of volumes (pieces) giving outside dates. For some classes, abstracts of contents or detailed analytical subject indexes are provided. These descriptions cover records relating to the North American postal services that have not been copied by the National Archives of Canada as well as those classes which have been copied. The catalogues have been given the designation MG44-A and were copied by the Archives in 1979. They are located on microfilm reels A-1223 to A-1225. (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- General Note:
- The microfilm reels are available for consultation through the inter-institutional loan service offered by the National Archives of Canada. Loans must be requested by institutions participating in the loan service on behalf of their patrons and must specify the microfilm reel numbers required. Additional information about our microfilm loan service may be found on the website of the National Archives of Canada.
- Location of originals note:
- The original documents are located in the General Post Office, Post Office Archive, Freeling House, 23 Glasshill Street, London, England SE1 OBQ.
- Reproduction note:
- The microfilmed originals of the Post classes are available on "A" microfilm reels; the microfilmed transcripts are on "C" microfilm reels. Reel numbers are located with descriptions of Post classes or transcripts.
- Dates of creation note:
- Transcripts were prepared between 1905 and 1923 approximately; microfilm reels were acquired between 1979 and 1988.
- Further accruals are possible since not all identified post classes relating to Canada have been copied.
- Related material:
- Records of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Post Office, 1839 to 1846, are located under former archival reference RG4-B52. Records of the Post Office of Canada are located under former archival reference RG3.
- Subject heading:
- Postal service Canada 19th century
- Postal service Great Britain 19th century
- Postal service North America 19th century
- Postal service Canada 20th century
- Postal service Great Britain 20th century
- Postal service North America 20th century
- Postes Canada 19e siècle
- Postes Grande-Bretagne 19e siècle
- Postes Amérique du Nord 19e siècle
- Postes Canada 20e siècle
- Postes Grande-Bretagne 20e siècle
- Postes Amérique du Nord 20e siècle
- Former archival reference no.:
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
There are no restrictions on the consultation of the first 276 microfilm reels of original records of the "post" classes or the microfilmed transcripts. Requests for copies of selected documents for research purposes will be permitted. However, copying for publication or exhibition purposes of any of the microfilmed originals requires the written permission of the General Post Office Archives. Crown copyright applies to records created before 1969, until which time the Post Office was a government department. There are no restrictions on the consultation of the remaining 10 microfilm reels of original records of the "post" classes, reels A-2170 to A-2179. Requests for copies of selected documents on the microfilms will be permitted for personal or research purposes, within the Archives. No reproduction for publication is permitted without the authorization of the Post Office Archives which also reserves copyright. Requests to copy microfilm reels should be directed to World Microfilms Publications, London, England.
- Date modified: