John Palmer (1742-1818)

John Palmer was born in Bath and is remembered today for establishing mail coaches in the late eighteenth century.

Having used stagecoaches to travel the country, Palmer thought it would be a far more efficient way of delivering mail so in 1784 he put forward the idea. He met resistance from officials who believed that the existing system could not be improved, but eventually the Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Pitt, allowed him to carry out an experimental run between Bristol and London. When the trial showed that the mail could be conveyed in 13, rather than 36 hours, the benefit was easy to see and 16 routes were soon established throughout the country.