Royal Mail issued its first uniform to mail coach guards in 1784. It consisted of a gold braided scarlet coat with blue lapels and a black hat with a gold band.
In 1793, a postman’s uniform was issued to London General Post letter carriers to celebrate Queen Charlotte’s birthday. Following the scarlet theme, it consisted of a scarlet tailcoat with blue lapels and cuffs, and brass buttons with the wearer’s number, a beaver hat and blue waistcoat.
This mid-19th century letter carrier's 'Stovepipe' top hat is similar to those worn in the early days. It is entirely covered with black plush silk and has a woven gold hatband. Inserted into one side of the hat is a brass button for attaching a knot of coloured ribbons otherwise known as a cockade.