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Ralph Allen; The Builder of Bath
Ralph Allen negotiated with the two Postmasters General a plan to "settle, establish and manage ….. the Cross Roads or Roads to, from and between the cities of Exeter and Chester ……and to Oxford ……", meaning all the mail across the country which did not need to travel to London first, as had been the case. The first Contract, for which he paid “the yearly Rent or Sum of” £6000 “of Lawfull Money of Great Britain by four equall Quarterly Payments ….” equivalent to half a million pounds today was set up in 1720.
These seven year contracts continued until his death, during which time he vastly improved the entire postal system. There are six letters in our collection which bear “X Post” (Cross Post) in manuscript but all the letters included here would have been administered by Ralph Allen.