Building    From 23/9/1829  To 1910

General Post Office

Categories: Commerce

The first general post office in London opened in 1643, after King Charles I legalised use of the royal posts for private correspondence. It was possibly located on Cloak Lane near Dowgate Hill, in the City.

Later, in 1678, the General Post Office moved from Bishopsgate Street to a building in Abchurch Lane and remained there until the opening of this building on the east side of St. Martins-le-Grand in 1829, designed by Robert Smirke. Here Trollope began work as a junior clerk and here Rowland Hill transformed the Post Office into an efficient, greatly-loved institution.

Quoting from Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844, Victorian London describes this building and adds: "Here is the head of this vast establishment; but there are four branch offices, - at Lombard Street; Charing Cross; Cavendish Street, Oxford Street; and 266. Borough High Street."

In the 1870s a new building was created on the west of St Martins-le-Grand to house the telegraph department. This was expanded to the north in the 1890s. The magnificent Smirke building was closed and demolished in 1912. All that remains is an Ionic capital outside the Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow.

The National Telephone Company, created in 1881 out of a number of small local telephone companies, was taken over by the GPO in 1912.

The1870s building was the General Post Office headquarters 1894 - 1984.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
General Post Office

Commemorated ati

General Post Office capital

185cm high x 160cm wide x 160cm deep and over 5 tons.

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General Post Office plaque

The General Post Office moved from Bishopsgate Street to a building on this s...

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GPO architectural sculpture

Immediately north of this panel are 7 other similar architectural panels rela...

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Penfold pillar box - EC1

Painted in the authentic green then in use, this is a reproduction of the Pen...

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This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
General Post Office

Creations i

Michael Faraday - N7 - plaque

This plaque was first erected in the Sandemanian Chapel, at the same time, 19...

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Other Subjects

Stenton Covington

Stenton Covington

A prominent local resident living in Gibson's Hill, he donated £3,000 towards the establishment of the Rookery in Streatham. He was also involved in saving Norwood Grove for the public. Stenton Th...

Person, Benefactor, Commerce, Gardens / Agriculture, Liveries & Guilds

2 memorials
William Whiteley

William Whiteley

Entrepreneur and founder of Whiteley's department store on Queensway, now Whiteleys shopping centre. A bequest from his will formed Whiteley Village. Born in Yorkshire and, 1848, apprenticed to a ...

Person, Commerce, Tragedy

3 memorials
People's Building Society

People's Building Society

It was operating in the 1860s with branches in Deptford, Greenwich and Lewisham. In 1968 it made an application to be merged with the Greenwich Building Society. Caroline's Miscellany gives further...

Group, Commerce

1 memorial
London Cemetery Company

London Cemetery Company

The Company was founded by architect and civil engineer Stephen Geary. who designed and planned Highgate Cemetery. It was later taken over by the United Cemetery Company.

Group, Commerce

1 memorial
scientific life assurance

scientific life assurance

Equitable Life, the world's oldest mutual insurer, started business in 1762 in the parsonage of St Nicholas Acons in Nicholas Lane. It pioneered scientific life assurance by basing premiums on age ...

Concept, Commerce, Science

1 memorial