Penny Black

The way in which people communicated over distance has been through writing since the beginning of time. Letters would be mailed, and the recipient would be responsible for paying the postage fee upon receiving the letter. Due to postal rates being high, confusing, and inconsistent, Sir Roland Hill, who was an English teacher, inventor, and social reformer, proposed the idea of an adhesive stamp that would be placed on letters to indicate prepayment of postage to simplify matters. In 1937 HIll was given a two year contract to run the new system. With a partner, Henry Cole, they announced a competition for the design of the new stamp, and having over 2,600 entries none were considered good enough. Eventually Roland Hill endorsed a rough design of an easily recognisable profile of the former princess Victoria. He chose this because it would be difficult to forge. The stamp was first issued in the United Kingdom on May 1, 1840 but was not valid for use until the 6th. Because the telephone was not invented until 1876 the regulation of the stamp made sending letters alot easier and affordable for most people. The Penny Black stamp allowed letters up to one half of an ounce to be mailed for a flat rate of one cent regardless of distance. This was especially usefull in the novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, because the letters were being written, sent, and recieved from the very first page of the book. 

Works Cited

"Penny Black." Wikipedia, Wikimedia Founation, 23, November, 2020,

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