Victorian Post Office [The]

Victorian Post Office [The]

The Growth of a Bureaucracy

C.R. Perry

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An analysis of the Post Office's development, during the second half of the 19th century, into the single largest business in Britain.
Among 19th-century government departments the Post Office was a bureaucratic giant. By the eve of the First World War it managed a complex set of responsibilities, from the conveyance of mail around the Royal Historical Societyaccounted for one third of the entire civil service.
Perry's book examines the important process by which the Post Office grew and evolved, took on new tasks such as the promotion of savings banks, and participated in the first two cases of nationalisation in British history —the 1870 purchase of the telegraphs, and the 1912 take-over of the telephone. Other topics explored include the Post Office's relations with politicians and the press, its approach to staff issues and labour difficulties, and itscontractual negotiations with two private industries, steamship lines and railways.
Throughout Perry places the Post Office firmly within the context of the emergence of the modern corporate state and the creation of a mixed economy. C.R. PERRY is Associate Professor of History and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.


Thoughtful and well-documented history... careful analysis of events, pressures and personalities brings this book firmly into the context of the historiography of legislative and administrative growth. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEWA major contribution to the long-running debate over the causes of government growth... It also provides fascinating insights into Victorian attitudes towards the role of the state in commerce, and towards the relative accountability of politicians and permanenet civil servants, both topics of current political resonance. This monograph will be an indispensable source for any serious student of the 19th-century `revolution' in government. HISTORYA significant contribution to the study of the evolution of the modern state with a mixed economy. ALBION A meticulously researched study of a government department that by 1914 was the largest single employer in the land... many interesting discoveries. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

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