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Alan Johnson: The Post Office and Me
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The Labour MP begins this love letter to his former employer in Barnes where, aged 18 in 1968, he reported for duty at 5.30am, six days a week. In the 500th year of the Post Office, Johnson jovially charts the history of this great British institution, from its early centuries as a service only the very wealthy could afford, to the democratic Penny Black, to today’s automated sorting factories.
He climbs aboard a defunct mail train or Travelling Post Office – “the perfect job for a bigamist” – and rattles through a secret railway under London – and diplomatically refrains from commenting on the “controversial” recent privatisation.
The Labour MP and former postman explores the history of the Post Office, from the introduction of the first postal stamp in 1840 to privatisation in 2013, revealing how it has reflected the complex make-up of British society over the last century. Alan Johnson also embarks on a nostalgic journey into his own past as a postman, as detailed in his memoir Please Mister Postman, that led to him becoming a trade unionist and embarking on a career in politics.
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