Friday, 1 May 2020

penny black

Whereas prior to the introduction of a pre-paid, flat-rate and conveniently adhesive postage stamp, first issued on this day in the United Kingdom in 1840, the Royal Mail was beset with complexities and high rates usually collected upon delivery determined by distance travelled as well as the sheet-count of the correspondence.
In order to remedy this situation and make the postal system more customer-focused and efficient (see also), inventor, social reformer and educator Sir Rowland Hill (*1795 – †1879) commissioned a government inquiry which resulted in not only the Uniform Penny Post but also an inexpensive, mass-produced version of an adhesive envelop for privacy, further facilitating the rapid and reliable exchange of correspondence. Honouring the monarch and promoting its adoption amongst the public, Hall and the committee selected a cameo image of then fifteen-year-old Victoria created by engraver and illustrator Charles Theodosius Heath (*1785 – †1848) and son Frederick, this portrait of the Queen used on stamps for the remainder of her reign.