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Letter Rates 1840-1968


1840 2d blues x 6 - seventh step 1s rate for 5-6oz from 1840-65

Uniform Penny Postage was introduced on 10th January 1840 after a short test of the principle of charging by weight at a 4d rate. A "letter" essentially meant anything that did not meet the special conditions for some other class of mail, and with only the overall postal restrictions on content. Rates in this period are straightforward, and interpretation of an ordinary cover is usually simply a question of noting what weight band was covered by a given rate.

This structure of rates remained in force until the introduction of two-tier post on 16th September 1968. All rates below are prepaid rates: unpaid rates were double.

Much of the mail was sent at the basic rate (the first entry in each section below), but higher rates should not be considered at all unlikely! Note that 'each additional X oz' is shorthand for 'each additional X oz or fraction thereof'. For clarity and ready reference, at least the first dozen rates have been shown in each section -- which should be far enough for the further progression to be clear.

Date Rates Date Rates Date Rates
1840
(10 Jan)
1d – ½oz
2d – 1oz
4d – 2oz
6d – 3oz
8d – 4oz
10d – 5oz
1s – 6oz
1s 2d – 7oz
1s 4d – 8oz
1s 6d – 9oz
1s 8d – 10oz
1s 10d – 11oz
2s – 12oz
2s 2d – 13oz
2s 4d – 14oz
2s 6d – 15oz
2s 8d – 1lb

1lb max until 31st July 1847, then each extra 1oz - 2d

Up to 4oz could initially be sent for 1d within a local Penny Post, as before

1865
(1 Apr)
1d – ½oz
2d – 1oz
3d – 1½oz
4d – 2oz
5d – 2½oz
6d – 3oz
7d – 3½oz
8d – 4oz
9d – 4½oz
10d – 5oz
11d – 5½oz
1s – 6oz

Each additional ½oz – 1d
1871
(5 Oct)
1d – 1oz
1½d – 2oz
2d – 4oz
2½d – 6oz
3d – 8oz
3½d – 10oz
4d – 12oz
5d – 13oz
6d – 14oz
7d – 15oz
8d – 1lb
9d – 1lb 1oz

Each additional 1oz – 1d
1885
(1 Jul)
1d – 1oz
1½d – 2oz
2d – 4oz
2½d – 6oz
3d – 8oz
3½d – 10oz
4d – 12oz
4½d – 14oz
5d – 1lb
5½d – 1lb 2oz
6d – 1lb 4oz
6½d – 1lb 6oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d
1897
(22 Jun)
1d – 4oz
1½d – 6oz
2d – 8oz
2½d – 10oz
3d – 12oz
3½d – 14oz
4d – 1lb
4½d – 1lb 2oz
5d – 1lb 4oz
5½d – 1lb 6oz
6d – 1lb 8oz
6½d – 1lb 10oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d


The "Diamond Jubilee" concession: at 4oz for a penny, cheapest letter rates ever reached!
1915
(1 Nov)
1d – 1oz
2d – 2oz
2½d – 4oz
3d – 6oz
3½d – 8oz
4d – 10oz
4½d – 12oz
5d – 14oz
5½d – 1lb
6d – 1lb 2oz
6½d – 1lb 4oz
7d – 1lb 6oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d
1918
(3 Jun)
1½d – 4oz
2d – 6oz
2½d – 8oz
3d – 10oz
3½d – 12oz
4d – 14oz
4½d – 1lb
5d – 1lb 2oz
5½d – 1lb 4oz
6d – 1lb 6oz
6½d – 1lb 8oz
7d – 1lb 10oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d


The point where the Penny Post principle had to be abandoned
1920
(1 Jun)
2d – 3oz
3d – 4oz
3½d – 5oz
4d – 6oz
4½d – 7oz
5d – 8oz
5½d – 9oz
6d – 10oz
6½d – 11oz
7d – 12oz
7½d – 13oz
8d – 14oz

Each additional 1oz – ½d
1922
(29 May)
1½d – 1oz
2d – 3oz
2½d – 4oz
3d – 5oz
3½d – 6oz
4d – 7oz
4½d – 8oz
5d – 9oz
5½d – 10oz
6d – 11oz
6½d – 12oz
7d – 13oz

Each additional 1oz – ½d


Easing of war-related costs meant the first basic inland letter rate reduction since 1840
1923
(14 May)
1½d – 2oz
2d – 4oz
2½d – 6oz
3d – 8oz
3½d – 10oz
4d – 12oz
4½d – 14oz
5d – 1lb
5½d – 1lb 2oz
6d – 1lb 4oz
6½d – 1lb 6oz
7d – 1lb 8oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d
1940
(1 May)
2½d – 2oz
3d – 4oz
3½d – 6oz
4d – 8oz
4½d – 10oz
5d – 12oz
5½d – 14oz
6d – 1lb
6½d – 1lb 2oz
7d – 1lb 4oz
7½d – 1lb 6oz
8d – 1lb 8oz

Each additional 2oz – ½d
1952
(1 May)
2½d – 2oz
3d – 4oz
4d – 6oz
5d – 8oz
6d – 10oz
7d – 12oz
8d – 14oz
9d – 1lb
10d – 1lb 2oz
11d – 1lb 4oz
1s – 1lb 6oz
1s 1d – 1lb 8oz

Each additional 2oz – 1d
1956
(1 Jan)
2½d – 2oz
4d – 4oz
5½d – 6oz
7d – 8oz
8½d – 10oz
10d – 12oz
11½d – 14oz
1s 1d – 1lb
1s 2½d – 1lb 2oz
1s 4d – 1lb 4oz
1s 5½d – 1lb 6oz
1s 7d – 1lb 8oz

Each additional 2oz – 1½d
1957
(1 Oct)
3d – 1oz
4½d – 2oz
6d – 4oz
7½d – 6oz
9d – 8oz
10½d – 10oz
1s – 12oz
1s 1½d – 14oz
1s 3d – 1lb
1s 4½d – 1lb 2oz
1s 6d – 1lb 4oz
1s 7½d – 1lb 6oz

Each additional 2oz – 1½d
1965
(17 May)
4d – 2oz
6d – 4oz
8d – 6oz
10d – 8oz
1s – 10oz
1s 2d – 12oz
1s 4d – 14oz
1s 6d – 1lb
1s 9d – 1lb 2oz
2s – 1lb 4oz
2s 3d – 1lb 6oz
2s 6d – 1lb 8oz

Each additional 2oz – 3d