1 May 2010

The Penny Black, the Stamp That Changed The World, is 170

Today, one hundred and seventy years ago, a little paper rectangle with the face of the young Queen Victoria on one side and sticky adhesive on the other went on sale for the first time. 

So what, you may ask.  Before the Penny Black there was no such thing as postage stamps, for a start (and so no such thing as stamp collectors either!) but we will leave that to you to decide if that made the world a better place or not.

However, before this humble little stamp came about it would cost you the equivalent of seven pounds in today's money to send a letter from one end of the country to another - which is pretty steep.

Hand in hand with the new railways the Penny Black would help shape the way things were communicated in the Britain of the Industrial Revolution.

The Independent has the full, fascinating story.  You will also find out exactly why Britain is the only country in the world that does not have its name on its stamps.