The Royal Mail of the United Kingdom provides postal services through its divisions Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide, and GLS, upholding traditions with daily delivery and influencing life through postal codes, which become a factor of social status.
The Royal Mail of the United Kingdom, or Royal Mail, plays a key role in organizing postal infrastructure throughout the country with over 11,000 branches. In 2023, the company is divided into two main divisions: Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide, responsible for domestic postal services and express delivery, and General Logistics Services (GLS), providing international logistics services in Europe and North America. Various postal products and delivery services are offered under the brands Royal Mail, Post Office, and Parcelforce Worldwide.
The Royal Mail delivery system covers various aspects, including the collection and delivery of letters and parcels nationwide. Iconic red pillar postboxes, introduced in 1852, embody British culture and have become an integral part of everyday life. Daily delivery is provided, aiming to ensure uniform prices for all directions, with an emphasis on first-class service, guaranteeing delivery on the next working day.
Historically, the Royal Mail was a state service, but in 2013, the majority of its shares were privatized, marking the end of almost five centuries of state ownership. The British continue to use letters, primarily for work purposes, thanks to the efficient operation of the postal service in the country.
Postal codes in the UK, consisting of a combination of numbers and letters, play a crucial role in the postal service system. There are 124 different areas with postal codes, and they influence various aspects of life, such as insurance rates, distribution of state funds, funding for education, and healthcare. Postal codes become not only a means of identification but also a factor of social status.
Maintaining their tradition, the British perceive postal codes not just as a code but as an important element of social status. The concept of a "postcode lottery" reflects the impact of the postal code on various aspects of life, including insurance rates and funding for public services. Postal codes become an indicator of status, and even when choosing a place of residence, some British are willing to pay more to secure the "right" postal code. In London, central postal codes such as SW1A 0AA, where the House of Commons is located, or SW1A 1AA, associated with Buckingham Palace, become symbols of status and allure.