2016 commemorates 500 years since Henry VIII knighted Brian Tuke, the first Master of the Posts, in 1516.
As you would expect from any institution that has been around for 500 years, there are a number of significant dates in Royal Mail’s history. The knighting of Brian Tuke was the catalyst for the creation of the Royal Mail we know today.
Despite the arrival of faxes and then email influencing the decline of letter post, today Royal Mail is the catalyst for ecommerce and parcel post. Many sellers start out using Royal Mail’s services exclusively and although couriers are a common part of most people’s online businesses, very few don’t still have a Royal Mail account for their lighter parcels.
To celebrate their 500th anniversary, Royal Mail is working in close partnership with its heritage partner, the British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA), to create an online gallery of 500 objects, people and events telling the story not only of the postal service but also of Royal Mail’s contribution to social and political development over the last 500 years.
Whilst the company continues to change and modernise it is still an integral part of British Culture. There aren’t many buildings, let alone institutions, dating back to Tudor times and as a footnote for my colleague Dan, the Royal Mail was established 48 years before the birth of Shakespeare. To put it into perspective, it’s unlikely anyone reading this will see Royal Mail’s 600th anniversary and not even your great-great-great-great-grandchildren will be around to see their 1000 year celebrations.
Congratulations to Royal Mail as they enter their historic 500th year.