Every Friday we’re inviting our experts and guests to share a letter to something they love linked to the post.

Hello Post Bus.

This is my letter to you: one of the bestest things in the museum.

You’re improbable, you’re pretty unknown, you’ve been stood down but you still look great. People fall in love when they learn of you; just like I did the very first time I saw a postcard of one just like you.

Postcard of a red post bus

I even bought a tiny little model of a Post Bus rather like you; you look at me from my bookcase to remind me daily of the great transport idea that you were, and indeed you still could be.

Tim Dunn holding a red model post bus to the camera If you were still in action today, this letter would sit in a mail sack in the back, with passengers alongside. Because for those who don’t yet know of you, let’s remind them of what a brilliant idea you were. You served mainly rural areas of Britain with a mail route AND a gave public passenger bus route – where each operation effectively subsidised the other. Two vital connections of freight and people supporting each other’s existence, going where others dared not.

You’re a Dodge Hi-Line Spacevan of 1983 but your parents were smiley-faced Commer vans of 1967. They started out to serve Mid-Wales when Beeching-era railway cuts meant that local communities lost their vital links to the outside world, when the state-run National Bus Company was thought unable to afford to run a service in such sparsely-populated areas. But you carried on: you were a lifeline for those most in need when they needed it most.

Archive picture of a post pus parcel delivery outside a large building

Oh, little Royal Mail Post Bus of 1983, you make me smile. You might have run your last trip in 1991 and your cousins might have run their last in 2017, but you all remain an inspiration.

As I write this we are all socially distancing, but one day, perhaps not far from now, there will again be a need for public transport for all. In a world where not everybody can afford to run (or might not be able to run) their own private transport, perhaps your mixed-use purpose might provide a model way to move forward. For we can, and should, learn from the best bits of the past.

One day I should like to tour the islands of Britain in a beepy-beepy little Post Bus like you, and when I do, I shall write you a postcard. I wish we were there.


Tim Dunn

Historian & Broadcaster

Tim Dunn stands by a post bus in The Postal Museum

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