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Redirection Charges

"Redirection charge" has two related but distinct meanings. Originally, it would have meant the amount required to redirect a single item of mail – referred to as "standard redirection" below – which when it applied was usually equal to the normal postage. From the late 19th century there were also charges for setting up automatic redirection to a new address on moving house or business, which were charged on the basis of how long the redirection applied.

Standard Redirection


1844 – registered letter paid 2d postage (stamps) + 1s registration (cash)
Charge on redirection was 2d only – at prepaid rate even though unpaid,
and no registration redirect charge

Redirected mail originally required a fresh payment for the second (or subsequent) transmission through the post, either paid on redirection or charged to the recipient. From 1840 redirection was charged at the prepaid rate even if the letter was unpaid (usually a double fee). A later concession was for no extra charge on mail redirected within the same delivery area.

In the 1890s charges for redirection were abolished, although a charge equal to the original postage was levied on undelivered printed matter and postcards if the sender wanted them returned. The Post Office Guide also listed certain requirements, principally that redirection should be done within a day of delivery, and a letter should not have been opened. Free redirection never applied to parcels, which always required a fresh payment for each journey.

On registered letters the registration fee always covered the letter throughout its journey, and so was never charged again upon redirection. Express fees were "one time only", however, and if express service was required for a redirected letter it had to be paid for.

Date Development
to 1840
(9 Jan)
Normal charge between the two places added to the charge for the original journey (as charges varied according to distance, they were seldom actually the same)
1840
(10 Jan)
Charged as if a new letter at paid or unpaid rate, depending on whether the redirecter paid the new postage or not
1840
(Feb)
Charged as new letter at paid rate, regardless of whether the redirecter paid the new postage or not, and whether originally prepaid or not
1855
(1 Mar)
Free redirection for letters redirected by the Post Office to "a place within or subordinate to the same post town as that in which the original address was situated"
1864
(5 May)
Free redirection rule changed to all mail redirected by the Post Office "within the limits of the same 'free delivery'". The entire London Postal District was regarded as one 'free delivery' area
1875
(1 Jul)
The Postal Union convention provided for free redirection of overseas mail throughout the Union ("thus placing foreign mail on a more favourable footing than inland letters").

This did not apply to inland mail subsequently redirected overseas – the difference could be prepaid or the packet surcharged as an inland packet on delivery
1892
(1 Jun)
Charge abolished for letters
1895
(1 Jan)
Charge also abolished for postcards, book post, newspapers and samples

Official Redirection to a New Address


1969 – 5s fee for renewal of redirection for 12 months
paid with three 1s 6d Christmas commemoratives +
6d Machin, all cancelled by signature

This is a service offered to persons or businesses who move to a new address, who can have all mail sent to the old address officially intercepted and redirected to the new one until they consider that their correspondents have got the idea!

Until 1898 this was free of charge but limited to a year; subsequently it was possible to pay for a longer period, and in 1971 the initial free period was abolished.

Although the rates do not show up on covers, there were Post Office forms on which the charges could be paid in stamps or by a postage meter, and these are perfectly collectable. Modern high charges are most likely paid directly, but the rates are recorded here for completeness.

From 1971 the charges were specifically stated to apply to either an initial redirection or a renewal for the period in question.

For a period the charges for redirection for 1 year were cheaper if it commenced within the initial one year period, thus encouraging early payment. Where this applied, in the table below:

  • "(before)" or "(B)" means "commencing before the first anniversary of redirection"
  • "(on or after)" or "(A)" means "commencing on or after the first anniversary of redirection"

Since 1996 there have been separate charges depending on whether the redirection was from a business or a private residential address (the latter being considerably cheaper – it has sometimes been referred to in Post Office leaflets as "social" or "consumer" redirection).

These charges apply only to inland redirection – more recently there have been separate rates for redirection to overseas addresses. (These could be included if they generate any collectable material showing the rate paid – please contact the if you know of any.)


Date Charges and Period Covered Date Charges and Period Covered
to 1898
(7 Feb)
Free - 1 year 1898
(8 Feb)
Free - 1 year
then £1 1s per extra year
1900
(24 Jul)
Free - 1 year
1s - second year
1s - third year (max)
1903
(16 Jun)
Free - 1 year
1s - second year
1s - third year
then 5s per extra year
1939
(25 Oct)
Free - 6 months
1s - next 12 months
then 5s per extra 12 months
1956
(1 Jan)
Free - 3 months
5s - next 12 months
then 10s per extra 12 months
1971
(15 Feb)
50p - 1 month
75p - 3 months
£2.00 - 1 year
1974
(24 Jun)
75p - 1 month
£2.00 - 3 months
£5.00 - 1 year
1975
(29 Sep)
£1.00 - 1 month
£2.50 - 3 months
£6.00 - 1 year (before)
£10.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1977
(13 Jun)
£1.25 - 1 month
£3.00 - 3 months
£7.50 - 1 year (before)
£15.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1981
(26 Jan)
£1.75 - 1 month
£4.25 - 3 months
£10.50 - 1 year (before)
£21.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1982
(1 Feb)
£2.00 - 1 month
£5.00 - 3 months
£12.00 - 1 year (before)
£35.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1983
(5 Apr)
£2.25 - 1 month
£5.50 - 3 months
£13.00 - 1 year (before)
£45.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1986
(20 Oct)
£2.50 - 1 month
£5.75 - 3 months
£14.00 - 1 year (before)
£47.50 - 1 year (on or after)
1988
(5 Sep)
£2.75 - 1 month
£6.25 - 3 months
£15.00 - 1 year (before)
£51.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1989
(2 Oct)
£3.00 - 1 month
£6.75 - 3 months
£16.00 - 1 year (before)
£54.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1990
(17 Sep)
£3.25 - 1 month
£7.25 - 3 months
£17.50 - 1 year (before)
£60.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1991
(16 Sep)
£3.50 - 1 month
£7.75 - 3 months
£18.75 - 1 year (before)
£65.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1993
(1 Nov)
£6.00 - 1 month
£13.00 - 3 months
£30.00 - 1 year (before)
£30.00 - 1 year (on or after)
1996
(8 Jul)
Business
£12.00 - 1 month
£20.00 - 3 months
£60.00 - 1 year (B)
£60.00 - 1 year (A)
Residential
£6.00 - 1 month
£13.00 - 3 months
£30.00 - 1 year (B)
£30.00 - 1 year (A)
2000
(27 Apr)
Business
£12.60 - 1 month
£21.00 - 3 months
£42.00 - 6 months
£63.00 - 12 months
Residential
£6.30 - 1 month
£13.65 - 3 months
£21.00 - 6 months
£31.50 - 12 months
2003
(8 May)
Business
£12.90 - 1 month
£21.60 - 3 months
£43.20 - 6 months
£64.80 - 12 months
Residential
£6.45 - 1 month
£14.05 - 3 months
£21.60 - 6 months
£32.40 - 12 months
2005
(7 Apr)
Business
£13.40 - 1 month
£22.40 - 3 months
£44.80 - 6 months
£67.20 - 12 months
Residential
£6.65 - 1 month
£14.55 - 3 months
£22.40 - 6 months
£33.60 - 12 months
2006
(3 Apr)
Business
£13.90 - 1 month
£23.25 - 3 months
£46.50 - 6 months
£69.80 - 12 months
Residential
£6.90 - 1 month
£15.10 - 3 months
£23.25 - 6 months
£34.90 - 12 months
2007
(2 Apr)
Business
£14.30 - 1 month
£23.95 - 3 months
£47.90 - 6 months
£71.90 - 12 months
Residential
£7.10 - 1 month
£15.55 - 3 months
£23.95 - 6 months
£35.95 - 12 months
2008
(7 Apr)
Business
£14.85 - 1 month
£24.90 - 3 months
£49.80 - 6 months
£74.75 - 12 months
Residential
£7.35 - 1 month
£16.15 - 3 months
£24.90 - 6 months
£37.40 - 12 months
2009
(6 Apr)
Business
£15.50 - 1 month
£26.00 - 3 months
£52.05 - 6 months
£78.10 - 12 months
Residential
£7.65 - 1 month
£16.85 - 3 months
£26.00 - 6 months
£39.05 - 12 months
2010
(6 Apr)
Business
£15.47 - 1 month
£25.96 - 3 months
£51.97 - 6 months
£77.99 - 12 months
Residential
£7.64 - 1 month
£16.82 - 3 months
£25.96 - 6 months
£38.99 - 12 months
2011
(4 Apr)
Business
£16.21 - 1 month
£27.20 - 3 months
£54.45 - 6 months
£81.72 - 12 months
Residential
£8.00 - 1 month
£17.62 - 3 months
£27.20 - 6 months
£40.85 - 12 months
2012
(30 Apr)
Business
£35.00 - 1 month
£60.00 - 3 months
£110.00 - 6 months
£205.00 - 12 months
Residential
£12.50 - 1 month
£19.50 - 3 months
£30.00 - 6 months
£47.00 - 12 months
2013
(2 Apr)
Business
£120.00 - 3 months
£195.00 - 6 months
£350.00 - 12 months
Residential
£21.00 - 3 months
£33.00 - 6 months
£50.00 - 12 months
2014
(31 Mar)
Business
£120.00 - 3 months
£195.00 - 6 months
£350.00 - 12 months
Residential
£24.99 - 3 months
£34.99 - 6 months
£54.99 - 12 months
2015
(30 Mar)
Business
£160.00 - 3 months
£240.00 - 6 months
£390.00 - 12 months
Residential
£29.99 - 3 months
£39.99 - 6 months
£59.99 - 12 months
2016
(29 Mar)
Business
£175.00 - 3 months
£260.00 - 6 months
£425.00 - 12 months
Residential
£31.99 - 3 months
£41.99 - 6 months
£59.99 - 12 months
2017
(27 Mar)
Business
£185.00 - 3 months
£275.00 - 6 months
£445.00 - 12 months
Residential
£31.99 - 3 months
£43.99 - 6 months
£62.99 - 12 months
2018
(26 Mar)
Business
£204.00 - 3 months
£303.00 - 6 months
£490.00 - 12 months
Residential
£33.99 - 3 months
£46.99 - 6 months
£66.99 - 12 months
2019
(25 Mar)
Business
£211.00 - 3 months
£313.00 - 6 months
£506.00 - 12 months
Residential
£33.99 - 3 months
£46.99 - 6 months
£66.99 - 12 months


References:
POST 28/2, History of Ancillary Services (1983) from which quotes above come
Post Office Schemes
Post Office rate leaflets