One of the most popular items in our collection is this sick note issued for a horse in 1898. “Mr T C Poppleton’s horse of The Post Office is suffering from sore shoulders and unable to perform his official duties” the note reads.
By the late 19th Century the volume of mail delivered every day by horse was huge – and growing. And in this pre-motor vehicle era it’s no wonder horses had to be signed-off due to over work.
Our Senior Curator Julian Stray will give a talk at the Royal Mail Archive on Thursday 19th September about the role played by horses in the Post Office. He’ll tell the full story of the sick note for Mr Poppleton’s horse alongside tales (and tails) stretching from Roman Britain to the post-war era. This promises to be a fascinating evening of history, with a little bit of horsing around!
Book now for Julian Stray’s talk Mr Poppleton’s Horse: The History of Horse-Drawn Mails. See a selection of images depicting Horse-Drawn Mail on Flickr.