In 1837, Rowland Hill was a prominent educator and campaigner for a radical postal reform. He recommended the adoption of a uniform, prepaid rate of one penny for all letters of less than half an ounce sent to destinations within Great Britain.

This meant that the sender would pay the postage - a revolutionary concept at the time.

The reform was intended to reduce costs, increase the volume of mail and eventually make the postal service profitable. It was especially popular with merchants and businessmen, who had the most to gain from reduced postal rates.

The rest of the world followed Britain's example. It was the most important innovation in the history of postal communication.

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John Dickinson, Design for a two pence envelope

Printed design for a two pence envelope by John Dickinson with a secure engine-turned design, 1837