Courier services – a potted history

Modern courier companies achieve some outstanding feats. You can send a parcel from the UK to the US to arrive the next business day. You can even reach countries in Asia in two to three business days.


Our fast-paced life means that we have come to expect more from our courier services. For domestic packages, people are increasingly seeking same day delivery services. But it hasn’t always been this easy…

Royal origins


The postal service can trace its roots back as far as 1516, when Henry VII created the position of Master of the Posts (a role which has since evolved into that of Postmaster General). In 1635, Charles I laid the foundations for Royal Mail as we know it today, by making the postal service available to members of the public.


Those looking to post something larger than a letter, however, faced a rather more haphazard system for sending their goods. Long distances were originally covered by stagecoach, with the horse-drawn coaches transporting parcels around the country. Senders made private arrangements in order to send their parcels by coach, with nothing resembling an organised network akin to Royal Mail’s letter delivery service coming to fruition until as late as 1883.


The UK’s first parcel post service


Wrangling over costs between the powerful railway industry and the government delayed the implementation of the first parcel post service considerably. Even when a deal had finally been reached (with the railways keeping 55% of the gross postage cost), each of the UK’s 1,000 post offices had to be refurbished in order to handle the delivery of parcels. Scales and wicker baskets (for transporting multiple parcels) were deployed across the nation, postal districts and routes were rearranged and postal workers were issued with carts and tricycles to facilitate parcel delivery.


An open market place


Incredibly, it was not until 2006 that PostComm, the postal regulator, ended Royal Mail’s monopoly on parcel delivery. The move threw the industry open to private companies, with the result that courier services as we know and love them today were finally born!


Since then, innovation has abounded, with private companies vying to offer the best parcel delivery solutions. That has led to services such as APC PinPoint, where customers can track their delivery driver’s whereabouts with impressive precision.


Innovation in the way that we use courier services has also given rise to professional storage and fulfillment services. Ultimately, those sending the parcels are shaping the way that our courier services work and grow. That’s why A to Z Couriers is so keen to build local relationships with our customers – it is those customers that we are here to serve, however they may need us to!


To book a fast, reliable courier to take care of your packages, simply call the A to Z Couriers team. Customers in London or Surrey can reach us on 0208 667 1234, while customers in Kent can call 01689 873 771. We look forward to serving you.


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