Anthony Trollope and the Jersey postal service

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Anthony Trollope and the

Jersey postal service


Trollope as a young man

This article by Philip Stevens was first published in the 1980 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

The Jersey postal service, established by Act of Parliament in 1794, got off to a slow start. A postmaster, Le Geyt, was appointed, and a single letter carrier, Mary Godfray, started to deliver letters in 1798, but only in the centre of Town: even Union Road was outside the delivery.

Not prepaid

Postage was not prepaid and Mary Godfray therefore charged 1d for every letter delivered. The inhabitants of St Aubin and Gorey arranged for a private postman to collect their letters once a week.

In 1829 the Post Office surveyor, George Louis, found that private firms were in rivalry with HM's mails, since the 1794 Act had not been registered in Jersey. He therefore determined to have letters taken to every house, a thing no private organisation could afford. As a result, Mary Godfray was joined by an assistant and five rural letter-carriers in 1830.

Penny Post

In that same year the penny post was established in Jersey, with rural collections at sub-offices in Gorey, St Aubin, St Clement, St Peter, Trinity and St Saviour (and there may have been others). By 1848 there were 10 letter-carriers, or postmen, in the country alone.

The expansion of the service may be attributed to the increasing population, the influx of English residents and the burgeoning of commerce in the years following the Napoleonic Wars. In addition, communications with England were much better. In 1827 steam mail packets began to ply from Weymouth, and in 1845 from Southampton instead, which was now only about three hours from London by train.

In addition, with the introduction of the penny post by Rowland Hill in 1840, letters could be sent anywhere in the British Isles much more cheaply than before.

Rowland Hill letter

But some users of the service were not satisfied. On 25 January 1851, John Clark of 1 Aubin Place, wrote to Rowland Hill to solicit his help in improving the local Jersey postal service.

"The population of the Island is 60,000, that of St Helliers parish alone is 30,000, and a very large proportion English, and the Town itself has become a little London doing a great home trade with the surrounding parishes, which makes the want of a local post more desireable ... ".

Collections and deliveries were then geared to the movements of the packets from Southampton, which arrived in St Helier on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at about noon, and left the harbour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday early in the morning; but it was very difficult, as we shall see, to answer a letter from England by return, and the local service was so slow that it could take a week for a man on one side of the island to receive a reply.

In suggesting a daily service, John Clark was acting largely on behalf of the English-speaking commercial class of St Helier, St Aubin and Gorey. We know that some of them printed a memorandum which was sent to G H Creswell, Postal Surveyor of the Western District of England, along with a minute from the Postmaster General, Lord Clanricarde, in early 1851.

The memorandum does not survive in the archives of the Post Office in London but we know that it complained of the inefficiency of the island deliveries, especially those in town; and requested a daily, rather than tri-weekly packet to and from England.

Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope

Since the late 1840s the post office surveyors and their clerks had been engaged on the revision of rural posts, and the surveyor who was sent to Jersey was a young man who had unsuccessfully tried his hand at writing novels, Anthony Trollope.

He tells us in his autobiography that he began this work in early 1851 and it was to absorb his life so completely for two happy years that he was not able to write anything: and that during those two years it was his ambition to cover the country with rural letter-carriers. In England postmen might deliver only in the neighbourhood of an influential man, or would claim payments on delivery: Jersey had introduced universal delivery in 1830, but Trollope was keen to rationalise their routes or walks, and to guarantee early delivery.

He began in Devon in early 1851; and this was followed by Cornwall, Somerset, most of Dorset, the Channel Islands, part of Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and the six southern Welsh counties. He tells us he rode everywhere with his Irish groom, and saw every house of importance, covering 40 miles a day. His reports suggest that he indeed covered every corner of Jersey but the island is not mentioned, perhaps surprisingly, in any of his many subsequent novels.

Two long reports

Trollope's two long reports on the Jersey postal service give a very detailed, if rather dry account of the service he found and what he proposed to do about it; and from these and other documents one can deduce something about what happened to his recommendations, including his famous one, the setting up of the British Isles' first letter-boxes.

On 21 November 1851, Trollope wrote out his proposals for the revision of Jersey's rural posts, sending them from Guernsey to the surveyor Creswell. From what he says, it is not certain exactly how letters were then collected and distributed, but it seems to have been as follows.

The system Trollope found

On the arrival of the mail packet at about noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the stamper took the London mail bags to be stamped and sorted in the main post office, then at 9 Bond Street. 10 rural messengers, or postmen, then fanned out from St Helier, usually at about 1 pm, with letters from England and elsewhere, sorted according to parish.

Five of these postmen - presumably the St Martin, Trinity, St Peter, St Brelade and, St Aubin, and St Mary and St Ouen messengers - did not even start delivering letters until they had walked 3-5 miles; while three of them had not even completed their delivery on the day the mail boat arrived, partly because, in Trollope's words, "every house in the island is served".

(Which walks these three were is unclear because the longest walks from Town also tended to have the fewest letters: it must have been about 3 pm before the St Mary-St Ouen messenger started delivering, but then he had only about 40 letters to deliver, while the St Saviour postman would deliver his first letter shortly after sorting, but then he would have had to deliver about 150 letters in all). Below is Trollope's list of the rural posts he inherited, with the number of letters delivered per week, by parishes, and my estimate of the distance from St Helier of the point at which the postman might have started delivering:

System of rural deliveries inherited by Trollope, 21 November 1851

District Letters per week Miles to starting point
Grouville and Gorey 438 2
St Martin 409
Trinity 513
St Lawrence and St John 280
St Mary and St Ouen 120 5
St Peter 224
St Brelade and St Aubin 387 3
Millbrook 365 1 ½
St Saviour 611 1
St Clement 409 1
Total 3756

Trollope's proposals

21 November 1851

What Trollope now proposed was the daily delivery and collection of letters throughout Jersey, using two horse posts. They would leave bags of mail at 11 receiving offices, six of them new ones. One horse post would serve the offices at St Clement, Gorey, St Martin, Trinity, Five Oaks and return to St Helier (15 miles), while the other would go to Millbrook, St Aubin, St Peter, St Ouen, St John, Carrefour Selous- and back to St Helier (17 miles). This would require new offices at St Clement, Trinity, Five Oaks, St Ouen, St John and Carrefour Selous.

The advantage of this proposed system would be that five rural postmen could start their delivery by picking up bags left by the horse posts at Gorey and Trinity, and at Millbrook, St Aubin and St Peter; and collect bags left by the same posts at St Clement and St Martin, and at St Ouen, St John and Carrefour Selous.

This would mean not only fewer letters to carryon the first leg of the delivery, but also shorter walks for, as Trollope says in his autobiography, it was the surveyor's law that a man should not have to walk more than 16 miles a day. On in-packet days postmen would, as before, leave letters at each address, but it would be earlier in the day, while on out-packet days people could check at receiving offices to see if the horse posts had left any letters for them. The three other rural postmen -who would cover St Helier outside the Town delivery, St Saviour and St Clement-would start from the main office. The new delivery routes would look like this:

Proposed routes

Proposal for rural deliveries, 21 November 1851

Route Letters per week
Gorey to St Martin 369
Trinity to St John 310
St Peter to St Ouen 220
St Aubin to St Brelade 447
Millbrook to St Lawrence 365
St Helier outside town 334
St Helier to St Saviour 380
St Helier to St Clement 409
Total 2834

More work in town

It can be seen that the total estimated number of letters is about 900 less than before: these extra letters would now be delivered by Town postmen, where before they were delivered in Town by rural postmen en route.

This would mean more work for the Town service, which already delivered many more letters than the rural one, and Trollope therefore proposed that one postman be transferred from the country to carry letters in Town, and that another, now delivering in St Mary and St Ouen, and about whom much complaint had been made for his "habitual drunkenness and insubordination", be told that his services would no longer be required.

The other main advantage of the proposed system of horse posts would be that they could collect bags daily from receiving offices as they went on delivery rounds, supplementing the service of those receiving officers who carried the bags to Town three days a week.

Where before it seems that the receivers at St Martin and at Millbrook had annual allowances of £11.14.6 each for bringing in the bags on out-packet mornings, Trollope now suggested that a new receiver at Trinity should get a similar allowance and a new receiver at Five Oaks should get £2 per annum for the same service.

On the form detailed proposed changes he had put times of departure from receiving offices of the four receivers who were to bring in bags. From these it is possible to suggest the routes of the four receivers, although no possible arrangements fit all the details of expense and seem reasonable. How, for example, was the Millbrook receiver to get out to St Ouen to collect the bags at 5 am? Why was the job not given to the St Ouen receiver?

Surmised routes of receivers bringing in housebags on out-packet mornings: Trollope's proposal.

1 St Martin 5.30 am receiver brings in bags
Gorey 6.00
St Clement 5.45
2 Trinity 5.00 receiver brings in bags
St John 5.30
St Aubin 6.00
3 St Ouen 5.00
St Peter 5.30
Carrefour Selous 6.00
Millbrook 6.30 receiver brings in bags
4 Five Oaks 6.30 receiver brings in bags

Details of system

According to this system, the receivers and horse posts would have shared the work in the following way. On out-packet mornings, the four receiving officers would bring housebags to St Helier by 7 am, these bags presumably containing only letters for England, which would not need to be sorted and could be placed aboard by the stamper. On the evenings of the same, out-packet days, the horse posts, starting from St Helier at 1 pm, would leave the local mail at the 11 receiving offices, where they could be claimed by addressees; at the same time the horse posts would pick up bags of local letters from receiving offices and would return to St Helier in the evening.

The next morning the horse posts would leave Town as soon as letters, which had just arrived on the packet, had been sorted; and would take them, presumably mixed with local letters, to the receiving offices where they would be collected by rural postmen for delivery at every address. This would mean that local letters would be collected every day and would be delivered, or could be collected, the next day, and thus that a man in St Ouen who posted a letter to St Martin could expect a reply in about three days, whereas under the current system it often took as long as a week.

Increased costs

The main drawback to Trollope's more efficient system is that it would have cost more. The horse rides (for which he had already half accepted a premature tender of £100 per annum from J W Sinnatt) and the new receivers' salaries would not have been balanced by the fact that there were fewer postmen to pay. He hoped that the scheme would increase the number of local letters sent, and he proposed increasing the notional revenue from each letter delivered from ½d to ¾d. His autobiography tells us that surveyors were not allowed to establish any messenger's walk if letters could not pay his wages at ½d a letter; but then it was the surveyor who did the counting and "an enterprising official might be sanguine in his figures". He was, he continues, sanguine, and while he did not prepare false accounts, he was anxious for good results.

In his despatch to Creswell, Trollope also refers to the complaint in the islanders' memorandum about the general inadequacy of the town delivery: :"There is at present no receiving office at St Helier, and persons living in distant parts of the town have to send nearly a mile to the principal office. I believe that a plan has obtained in France of fitting up letter boxes, in posts fixed at the road side, and it may perhaps be thought advisable to try the operation of this system in St Helier - postage stamps are sold in every street, and therefore all that is wanted is a safe receptacle for letters, which shall be cleared on the morning of the despatch of the London Mails, and at such other times as may be requisite. Iron posts suited for the purpose may be erected at the corners of streets in such situations as may be desirable, or probably it may be found to be more serviceable to fix iron letter boxes about 5 feet from the ground, wherever permanently built walls, fit for the purpose can be found, and I think that the public may safely be invited to use such boxes for depositing their letters ".

"Should the Postmr Genl be willing to sanction this experiment, I would recommend the four sites which I have marked with red ink on the enclosed small map of the town, the site of the principal office being marked with a black cross. In this event no expence need be incurred for clearing the letters from the boxes, as this duty on post mornings would be performed by the person who brings in the rural receiving house bags, and at other times by the town Letter Carriers ..."

Trollope also proposed to reform the town delivery, which was not completed within six hours of arrival of the mails at the main post office on in-packet days:

"In the first place two hours are consumed in despatching the men. The average number of letters to be prepared for delivery is c 3,000 each day, and five persons are employed to check the bills, and stamp, sort and distribute the letters among 17 town and country carriers. No doubt the time taken is excessive, owing partly to want of system, and partly to the comparative unfitness of the 2nd and 3rd clerks, who having been appointed somewhat late in life for such work, are slow and inefficient. I have endeavoured to improve the system, I hope with good effect, and I have found the postmaster very anxious to carry out my views: the clerks alluded to may probably become more serviceable with longer practice, and some time will thus be saved. A great portion of the delay however is occasioned by the number of men now crowding the office, and the force of clerks is hardly sufficient effectively to deal with so great a force of letter carriers-this evil will be remedied by the proposed arrangement for lessening the number of rural messengers to be despatched from the principal office from 10 to 3".

He wished to increase the number of town letter carriers from seven to nine, rearranging their walks to cope with the extra 900 letters a week they would have to carry once they got no help from the country postmen; and to increase from three to six a week the duty days of the stamper, who saw the mails to and from the waterside and delivered the French mails. The town delivery was to be confined within lines marked on a map which does not survive, while the outer part of St Helier would be covered by rural walk No 6. One of the two Town letter-carriers, Gregory, was "quite unfit for his situation, where despatch and intelligence are required" and Trollope recommended that he be transferred to the lightest rural walk, St Peter and St Ouen.

Cresswell's approval

Creswell endorsed Trollope's proposals as "calculated to meet every point of public convenience" and likely to "create such an increased local correspondence as will cover the increased expence proposed to be incurred". He was also of opinion that "no better opportunity of trying the experiment of roadside letter boxes could be selected". It seems that in December 1851 the Postmaster General, Lord Clanricarde, authorised the extra expenditure, giving consent to the trial offour letter boxes.

Creswell modifies Trollope's proposals and puts them into practice around July 1852. Some, maybe all, of Trollope's proposals were not put into immediate effect, however, but had to wait until the middle of 1852. In about May Creswell advertised in the local papers for tenders for taking RM's mails from Trinity and from St John by horseback, mail cart or omnibus. The hours of despatch would be 5 am from Trinity and St John and 1 pm, or as soon as letters from England were sorted, from St Helier.

Journeys were to be performed within 7 miles per hour, including stoppages, which would mean they would be completed within two hours. 27 tenders were submitted, some for the St John's route, some for the Trinity route, some for both. On 20 May the tenders of James Charlton and Stephen Charles Barrett (Trinity) and Phillip John Benest (St John) were recommended by Creswell, being the cheapest at £36 and £48 respectively. J W Sinnatt, whom Trollope had recommended the previous December at £100 for both rides, put in a tender for £125. Charlton and Barrett met Creswell, and realised that their duty would be almost double what they thought had been specified in the papers. They fell out, as did Peter Mauger who was to replace them, and as did Benest. Creswell finally recommended a tender from John Brophy at £85 for both rides, and we may assume it was accepted since there is no further correspondence on the subject.

From the advertisement in the Jersey papers in May, it seems that Creswell had already modified Trollope's plans for the horse post, although Creswell did not seek permission to do so until his minute of 8 July, from which it is clear that while Trollope had proposed that horse posts should pick up bags as they went the delivery rounds in the afternoon and evening, Creswell wanted the collection done early in the morning. Trollope wanted the horse posts to make the ride from St Helier in a loop and back the same day, while Creswell must have wanted them to go straight out to Trinity and to St John in the evening, returning on the same route to St Helier the next morning.

In fact Creswell's modifications were rather ingenious and would have outdone Trollope in point of speed. A reply to a letter delivered by the horse post in the evening, could be sent back by the horse post of the next morning, thereby taking two, not three, days for the sender (if in Jersey) to get his reply. Further Creswell saw that it would not now be necessary for receiving officers to bring in the housebags at all. His routes, however, would have excluded Five Oaks and Carrefour Selous, and he advised against putting receiving offices there. He thought their benefits would not justify carrying bags from there to St Helier and to St John (or Millbrook) respectively.

Jersey's first 'pillarbox'

Letter boxes approved

The Constable of St Helier (Pierre Le Sueur) had agreed to the erecting of letter boxes and Creswell proposed that four for Jersey and three for Guernsey be made by Mr John Vaudin whose terms (£7 each) appeared "very reasonable". On 20 October La Chronique de Jersey wrote that "Workmen are engaged in placing in various parts of the town certain granite blocks to serve as bases for the cast-iron pillars which are about to be erected to receive letters. The work is under the direction of Mr Watson, one of the most highly placed officers of the General Post Office ... ". On 26 October the Jersey Times told its readers that "The cut granite Pedestals for the cast-metal receivers for letters as assistant post offices are now being put down in various parts of the town and suburbs."

Posters were put up telling the public that "On and after 23 November, Roadside Letter Boxes will be opened for collecting public correspondence in the following situations:

  • David Place: Nearly opposite the Rectory
  • New Street: In front of Mr Fry's, painter and glazier
  • Cheapside: Top of the Parade
  • St Clement's Road: Corner of Plaisance.

The Letter Boxes will be cleared daily (Sundays excepted) at the following periods until further notice: 6 am and noon. Except on Mail-days, when, instead of Noon, they will be cleared as soon as the Packet is signalled ... "

These boxes, which were officially known as 'Vaudins' in the Post Office, were cast by Le Feuvre's foundry in Bath Street. They "are about four feet high and are sexagonal. On three of the sides near the top are the Royal Arms, on two sides the words Post Office, on the other the words Letter-box, with a protected receiver. A sliding cover allows the collector to unlock the receiver and remove its contents. They are painted red and fitted on solid granite blocks two feet deep and raised four inches from the ground" (Jersey Times, 26 November, 1852).

Already by 11 December Creswell was able to report that the letter boxes were giving general satisfaction, although the pillar in David Place was twice vandalised by 15 December, the granite plinth and lock guard both having been broken. (La Chronique, 18 December) But other aspects of the modified Trollope-Creswell system, which had been in operation for about 6 months, gave rise to a spate of complaints. G R Dodd of 3 Clarence Terrace, for example, said that he was far worse off than before with his delivery, and that it would be a good idea if the Jersey postmaster (G H Smith) did not live four miles from Town.


Though there were more town letter-carriers and their routes had been equalised, the changes meant that other people would now find themselves at the end of a route, and they would complain. In addition, as we have seen, the town service now had about 900 more letters to deliver each week.

Thus Henry Moriarty RN, wrote to Colonel Maberly, secretary of the GPO in London, that he was only seven minutes from the post office (now at 18 Queen Street) but that it took up to four hours for a letter to get to him. The sorting alone took two hours. Could not, he asked, the sorting be done on the packet-boat? Moriarty, who was expecting a call from the Admiralty to join his ship, found that if the packet was late, he might have to wait till the next day for his mail.

The same was true for some in the country: Mrs Helen Ogle, of the Queen's Farm, claimed that her postman sometimes had to cover 30-40 miles. Creswell thought that the difficulties could be satisfactorily resolved only by Mr Trollope, whom he wanted to proceed to Jersey before returning to Ireland. But Trollope's brotherin-law, John Tilley, who also happened to work for the Post Office, wrote to the Postmaster General that he could not advise that Trollope should return to Jersey, and suggested that Creswell himself should complete the "measure which has stood over since December of last year".

In January 1853 Creswell, over in Jersey for the trial of Ranwell, a first clerk charged with embezzling letters, reviewed the new arrangements. He found that some of the town delivery rounds were too long, and suggested more letter-carriers. He found that letters with vague or no addresses were causing confusion in the country: the rural postmen who now began their walks in the country could not help the sorting in the town office, which was according to routes, not parishes, and was taking longer. Creswell thought that the eight rural postmen were each putting in more hours than the ten had done previously. He found that "gentlemen in the country" had not got their letters earlier; and some were surprised to find that they had to pay a fee to claim their letters (presumably this is on out-packet days).

Creswell's new proposals

Creswell now proposed to abolish the rural rides and all receiving offices except St Aubin, Millbrook and Gorey, and to place eight of the "iron pillars" at Belmont (sic), St Peter, Carrefour Selous, Trinity, St Martin, Grouville, St Clement and Five Oaks. 'Belmont' must be Beaumont, where only a week later about 100 residents were petitioning Lord Canning, the new Postmaster General, for a letter box. Creswell's proposals would have involved only two "collecting messengers" picking up bags at the three remaining receiving offices and emptying seven pillar boxes, with the stamper emptying the box at Five Oaks.

These attenuated country collections would operate only on out-packet mornings, and in the evenings the collecting messengers would take the bags back to St Aubin, Millbrook and Gorey. On in-packet days he proposed to use the omnibus to ferry bags from St Aubin and Millbrook to St Helier, and from Gorey to St Helier, and back again after the boat arrived. This would mean that St Aubin, Millbrook and Gorey villages would have a daily collection, but elsewhere in the country there would be only a tri-weekly collection. Those in the west would have a very bad deal: someone who lived at L'Etac, for example, would have to walk three miles to St Peter to post his letter. Creswell, unlike Trollope, must have thought that postal frequencies should be proportional to use made of the service, which may make economic sense but is contrary to the idea of a service.

Creswell also proposed effectively to reverse most of Trollope's plans for rural delivery: six of the eight rural postmen were to start from the main office at 18 Queen Street, the other two starting from Gorey and St Aubin. Routes were again very much according to parishes, though not entirely so: Creswell's proposed rural delivery service 15 January 1853

  • From the Gorey office throughout St Martin's.
  • From Queen Street through the Vingtaine de Haut du Mont au Pretre (St Helier) and throughout Trinity.
  • From Queen Street to Millbrook and Beaumont throughout St Peter, handing over to the branch messenger to deliver throughout St Ouen.
  • From the St Aubin office throughout St Brelade.
  • From Queen Street to Millbrook, up St Lawrence Valley to Carrefour Selous and throughout St Mary.
  • From Queen Street through the Vingtaine du Mont a l'Abbe throughout St John returning through the Vingtaine du Coin Hatain (St Lawrence).
  • From Queen Street throughout St Saviour.
  • From Queen Street through part of St Clement and Grouville, handing over there to the branch messenger to cover the south-east corner of the island.

Trollope unhappy

Not surprisingly, Trollope was not happy with Creswell's report. He thought that as people "ascertained the necessity of adopting a more descriptive address for their letters" and as the sorting clerks gained experience, so the division of rural delivery by parish would be seen to be better. He thought some of Creswell's routes would be too heavy, and one too light, and that the two branch messengers, having received their bags so late, would be unlikely to finish delivery the same day.

He reiterated that the rural rides were designed for the delivery, not the collection of letters, and as such had been a success: the only complaints of late country delivery had come from a parish (St Lawrence) for which he had proposed a receiving office without success. He was not surprised that the new deliveries of letters had produced no indications of satisfaction

"Postal arrangements never do - People injured complain, but those who are benefitted rarely express gratification"

He thought that the ending of horse posts and deliveries three days a week would cause much outcry, and he defended the new offices which had received an average of 90 letters a week each, a number which would increase as their utility became apparent. Furthermore, these offices were the only rural places where stamps could be bought, and they enabled people to claim letters before the arrival of the postmen at their door. Of the general complaint of delay he says that it is the result of the Jersey custom of delivery at every address, and "it must be borne in mind that any change in the routes of letter-carriers will produce some complaint". At that point, and on 25 January 1853, Trollope signed himself off, having shown that he still had a good grasp of Jersey's postal system: but it seems unlikely that he was again involved in revising or commenting on it.

Tilley's compromise

On 5 February 1853, John Tilley submitted Creswell's report and Trollope's comments on it to Canning, who seems to have approved Tilley's proposed compromise on 8 February. It must have been this compromise service that came into being from the debate between Trollope and Creswell.

Tilley supported the horse rides; he defended the routes by parishes (though he thought some too heavy); and he was keener on receiving officers, and less keen on letter boxes, than was Creswell. He wanted one more letter box (Five Oaks) and three more rural postmen. In fact, Tilley's compromise was much closer to his brother-in-law Trollope's plans that it was to Creswell's.

Tilley's rural delivery service: in action from 1853 onwards

  • From the office at Gorey throughout St Martin.
  • From the office in Trinity throughout the parish.
  • From a new office in St Mary throughout the parish and St John.
  • From the office in St Ouen throughout the parish.
  • From a new office in Beaumont throughout St Peter.
  • From the office at St Aubin throughout St Brelade.
  • From the office at Millbrook throughout St Lawrence.
  • From a new office at Grouville throughout the parish.
  • From St Helier throughout St Helier, St Saviour and St Clement.

Tilley said that his plan would cost only £4.17.7 more than Trollope's original estimate. The extra expense of the three new rural postmen and the new offices would be offset by no longer having to pay receiving officers to bring in the bags, which suggests that collection of mail was to be as Creswell first amended Trollope's proposals, namely by horse posts or perhaps mail carts on the return to St Helier in the early morning.

Further correspondence concerns Trollope's most successful suggestion, the letter boxes. On 20 June Frederick Maberly wrote to Creswell from Jersey that the letter box at the head of Bath Street was so full that he was able to pull his letter out again, and he enclosed a letter from John Vaudin showing how a larger, eight-sided box could be cast by adding two panels to the hexagonal boxes, which were cast in two vertical pieces. The Bath Street box was removed to Five Oaks and a larger octagonal one was put nearby, though not in exactly the same place, where it would have obstructed the foot or carriage way.

On his visit to Jersey, Maberly also noticed the onerous duty of the stamper: on duty till 10 pm on the night before the departure of the packet, he must rise at 3 am next morning to clear the Five Oaks and four town boxes, and no later than 5 am he must be in the main office stamping about 2,000 letters. We do not know what Tilley proposed to do about this, and indeed the whole file ends abruptly with a minute of 21 October 1853 about expenses.

Trollope's legacy

Trollope's legacy to Jersey was a better service through the horse (or mail cart) posts, letter boxes and rural receiving offices. By 1858 the town mail was delivered by 13 men, and country letters delivered by mail cart were re-sorted and delivered by 11 rural postmen. Trollope recorded that he did not remember a rural post proposed by him being negatived by the authorities, though some broke down being too poor or because the men were sent too far afield. He records that the matters which stirred him to energetic performance of his duties were that "the public in little villages should be enabled to buy postage stamps; that they should have their letters delivered free and at an early hour; that pillar boxes should be put up for them (of which accommodation in the streets and ways of England I was the originator, having, however, got authority for the erection of the first at St Heliers in Jersey); that letter-carriers and sorters should not be overworked ... ".

Jersey owes him a debt that in all of these matters he was not only energetic but largely successful.

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