GPO telegrams were once the quickest way to send an important message.

Book: Bringers of Good Tidings, with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.
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GPO telegrams were once the quickest way to send an important message. From 11am on Thursday 31st July 2003, BT no longer provided a personal greetings telegram service.

Edward Ardizzone

Birthday Greetings Telegram Birthday Greetings Telegram
Edward Ardizzone illustrated many telegrams.

Images: Sample telegrams with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.

Edward Ardizzone (1900 - 1979) was a well known illustrator of children's books, such as 'Johnny the Clockmaker', Oxford University Press, 1960. Reprinted 1971. ISBN 0 19 279587 2

More about Edward Ardizzone


Red Bike Boys

The special site for Leicester ex-Telegram Boys their stories, pictures and where they meet. Contributions from other City’s ex-Messengers are most welcome.

Telegram Messenger Boys' Reunion
Telegram Messenger Boys
Roger Green writes... We have set up a web site for former Telegram Messenger boys to keep in touch with each other and are hoping to contact as many Post Office Telegram Messenger Boys (wags) as possible.

The Telegram Messenger boys have a lot of history, and it would be a shame if any of that was forgotten.
We hope that former messenger boys will enjoy the site, and will contribute stories, articles, and any old photographs that can be sent by e-mail. We record memories of their years as messenger boys (wags) sent to us, and feature photographs of past reunions. We also accept any correspondence through the post, and will return all items after they have been scanned onto the website.

The word 'wags' was used for Birmingham Telegram Messenger boys; we don't know for sure, but we believe it was short for 'scallywags'. London Telegram Messenger boys were known as 'moppers'- a telegram was a mop. Most of the telegram boys began work aged 14 or 15 and delivered telegrams on foot, by bike and then motorcycles, in the days before telephones were widespread and a telegram was the only way of getting a message to someone on the same day.
Modern Day Telegrams

In the 21st century, the Post Office no longer operates a Telegram Service, but in a free market, other companies can provide on-line messaging and arrange delivery by courier or post. Selected examples are shown below.

Delivery by post (Royal Mail)
The Telegram Office
"The Telegram Office offers a choice of creations inspired by original telegrams."
TASS - Teleprinter Automatic Switching System
The Public Telegraph Service
The Public Telegraph Service was more commonly known as the Telegram Service because it was for the acceptance, transmission and delivery of Telegrams which used the Telegraph Network.

Teleprinter Automatic Switching System (TASS)

Leaflet: Send greetings overseas by telegraph.
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