This book returns to the historical moment in Victorian Britain before the invention of the telegraph and the telephone and just at the opening of the Great Western Railway in 1838, a service which sped up mail delivery. The Penny Post had a tremendous impact on daily Victorian life. It became the number one form of communication, generating a postal network that measurably impacted the economy, reshaped social relations, and arguably stands as a forerunner of computer-mediated communication (CMC) networks. The two sections in this introduction — “Context” and “Postal Reforms, Terms, and Reformers up to 1840” — facilitate an understanding of how Victorian innovations in communication responded to prior developments and anticipated our current information revolution. These sections provide a background for how postal reform came to be seen as much needed, welcomed Victorian progress and achievement.
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