Scottish Post Office Directories

Postal directory

Post towns

Of all the directories within our digitised volumes, the postal directory is usually the most extensive.

Ranging back to the very earliest items in this collection, it is dominated by a list of post towns. These could be given with their distance from the originating place and the postage to be paid, as well as the mail's departure date and time.

Letter carriers and collection times

Some postal directories include staff lists and times of mail collection from the letter boxes.

Directories for larger towns and cities usually also contain specific information on the letter carriers, listing them by their district and recording the street names they would cover.

Postage to foreign and colonial countries

Towards the end of the 19th century the postal directories included extensive lists of foreign and colonial countries which had a postal union with the UK.

These lists would give the postage for letters, postcards, newspapers, books and parcels to postal union countries depending on their weight and destination. Some lists would also include a posting time schedule.

Foreign telegram services

Around 1880, many post offices started offering foreign telegram services.

Often the postal directories would give extensive explanations regarding the layout and charges for such telegrams which would be grouped into three categories:

  • Ordinary
  • Code
  • Cypher.


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