Friday 22 December 2017

Post Early For Christmas

Actually, if it's not in the box by now, it's probably too late! Did you know that the Canadian Post Office has used an address for Santa since the 1980's ? 
They receive around one million letters annually addressed to 
Santa Claus, North Pole, 
Canada, HOH OHO
Here in Britain, Royal Mail handles 800,000 messages to 
Father Christmas/ Santa
Santa's Grotto
Reindeerland XM45HQ
People post the weirdest things - it used to be legal to post people. The record for this is W Reginald Bray, a clerk from London, who successfully posted himself three times - in 1900, 1903 and finally in 1932. Two suffragettes, Miss Solomon and Miss McLellan attempted to post themselves to Prime Minister Herbert Asquith on 23rd February 1909, in order to personally present their case for "Votes For Women".
Here we see A S Palmer, Messenger #25, outside 10 Downing Street. Unfortunately the man who answered the door refused to sign for the ladies, and poor old #25 had to take them back to the Depot and write a full written report as to why he had not delivered his mail!

The Postmaster,
Sir, I beg to state in reply to the above report that I took the Ladies to Mr Asquith’s house but the police would not let them go in. I went in but the butler would not sign the form because he did not have the letters to sign for, because the ladies themselves said they were the letters. And Mr Asquith refused to see them.
I am, Sir, Your Obedient Servant
A.S. Palmer [Messenger number] 25
W R Bray was the most eccentric mailer of them all. Having purchased a copy of the Post Office Guide, Bray discovered it was possible to send living creatures by Express Messenger as long as they were larger than a bee but smaller than an elephant. As a result he successfully posted not only himself but also his faithful Irish terrier, Bob. By the time of his death at the age of 60 in 1939, Bray is thought to have put about 30,000 random items in the mail. These also included messages sent in unusual envelopes such as a crocheted letter created for him by his mother, and a postcard addressed to "The Driver, Locomotive No. 133, Caledonian Railway, Glasgow Station".
I had had my mad mailing moments, I confess
In the 1970's, I was discussing the merits of the postcode system with the younger brother of my boyfriend. We wondered how brief the address had to be to get to somebody. I returned to Uni and sent a postcard with just his name and postcode [e.g. John, AB12 34CD] on the front, and the time and date when I put the card in the box written on the back. I used a 2nd class stamp - I seem to recall it took 2 days to arrive!
Five years ago, I did my first jumping-on-a-parcel-dance in the village post office, and have repeated that performance since. It saves my money and amuses those in the queue!
In 1982, my inlaws were kindly looking after our baby equipment just before Liz was born [we lived in the tiniest flat] and when they delivered the cot, the rods which held the drop-side front were left behind. So my resourceful FIL taped these two together [imagine a pair of 3mm knitting needles, about 1 metre long] and attached a brown paper tag with the address on it. He posted them to us, and they not only survived the journey, but were diligently fed through the letter box by the Postman!
As a child, I met a man who played chess by post with a friend who lived at the other end of the country - I marvelled that anyone could sustain the interest in a game which took so long.
I knew another family who exchanged the same Christmas card year after year with their cousins. 
I try to be as accurate as possible when the post office clerk asks what is in my parcel. "It is an embroidered gingerbread man made of brown felt" "6 miniature woolly hats for the top of Innocent drink bottles" "An icing bag, two piping nozzles and an embroidered butterfly"...
What is the strangest thing which you have ever received or sent in the post?


  1. There was this story in the news a couple of years ago:-
    In the mid-1960s, Australian athlete Reg Spiers found himself stranded in London with no money to buy a plane ticket home. Desperate to get back to Australia in time for his daughter's birthday, he decided to post himself in a wooden crate. For the rest of the story:-

  2. That's brilliant! Thanks for this lovely story Philip

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  4. Can't say I've sent or received anything other than cards, letters, and gifts; but I enjoyed reading about how creative some people have been!


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