Postman Delivering Mail in Years Gone By, Barbados Pocket Guide

The Postal Service of Barbados

The Barbados Post Office operates as a department of the Government of Barbados and reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Barbados Postal Service (B.P.S.) is headed by the Postmaster General, who is responsible for maintaining the island’s postal services, subject to the laws of the island.


In general, the BPS is often perceived as synonymous with mail delivery and the purchase of stamps for postage. However, there is a great deal of back office activity involved in postal operations. As such the Postmaster General is assisted by a team of approximately 607 members of staff. Personnel ranges from postmen, Senior Postmen, Inspectors, porters, maids, drivers and Postal Clerks to Postmasters/mistresses, Postal Accountants, Postal Superintendents and Senior Postal Superintendents in addition to senior management.


There are 18 postal counters located across the length and breadth of Barbados. These include the General Post Office at Cheapside, the Post Office at Grantley Adams International Airport and the General Post Office at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal.


The function of the District Post Offices is to provide reliable and efficient service to the residents of the communities which they serve. The postmen operating from these offices provide delivery to 161 routes around Barbados.


A variety of services are offered by most of the Post Offices, for which the hours of business are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Business hours for the General Post Office are 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Postal Service Stamp, Barbados Pocket GuideThe British Postal Office established an office in Barbados as early as 1663 in the city of Bridgetown making Barbados one of the countries with the oldest postal services. In the begining the service was dependant on regular ships carrrying the mail back and forth between England and the West Indies. Originally a ship would take about 3 to 4 moths to return to England as it may have had to make other stops in other islands along the way. Mail was a slow process.


It was not until the 1745 when a regular monthly service was installed by the British Post Office. Postal markings first appeared in Barbados during the 1760's. The British Post Office was responsible for all mail to Barbados up until 1851.


On the September the 7th in 1851 the first postmaster Mr. W,H,Allder was appointed in Barbados at a salary of £300.00 per year. This came after the establishment of an ACT allowing the colony to setup an Inland Post Office. After being in office for a very short time he resigned and Mr. Charles Tinling was appointed to take over.


The First Stamps

Postal Service's First Stamps, Barbados Pocket GuideThe first stamps to be issued were known as Britanias. To save money they were printed along with the other dependancies of Trinidad and Mauritius using the same die and only changing the wording on each one. The value of each stamp was differentiated by the colour as there were three produced together for Barbados in the first run. The design of the stamp is credited to Henry Corbould who provided the scetches from which the Penny Black was drawn from and is beleived to have been engraved by Frederick Heath. The first dispatch was sent aboard the RMS Amazon and left England on the 30 December 1851 after the vessel was lost at sea a second set of stamps were dispatched in January and February 1852. When the stamps arrived the first post office was officially opened and the stamps went on sale the same day April 15th 1852 (It is this day that the island celebrates the anniversarry of postage in Barbados). The stamps were adhesive green (half penny), blue (1d) and purple stamps which were issued in 1852. They were soon afterwards followed by a brownish-red stamp in 1855.


Postage rates in the island were first set at one penny per half ounce and other items wer charges a half penny making Barbados one of the first to do this, even before the British did it in 1870 issue. Newspapers published in Barbados were actually post-free to encourage the spread of news.


An Act of Parliament in 1854, served to amalgamate the Imperial Packet Agency and the Inland Post Office. By 1858 the Packet Agency was abolished and all mail received became the responsibility of the Colonial Postmaster.

Other Important Information about Stamps

10th Anniversary of Independence Stamp, Barbados Pocket GuideEver an innovator, the Barbados Post introduced Registration and Money Order Services in 1861.


The Parliament Buildings of Barbados were the headquarters of the Barbados Postal Service for 112 years – from 1872 to 1984. At this location, there were a number of firsts for the Barbados Post.


In 1874 the first stamps with values were introduced.


In 1881 the first wall posting boxes were erected.


In 1886, the Barbados Post inaugurated an International Parcel Service with England and in 1887 a similar arrangement was reached with the United States.


Over the 100 years in which the Post Office was headquartered in the Parliament Buildings, the Barbados Postal Service has made a valuable contribution to the social, economic and educational development of Barbados.


In the early 1900s when scores of Barbadians emigrated to the United States and Panama, and again in the 1950s, when there was also large scale immigration but to England, the Post was the primary means of facilitating communication between the migrants and their families at home.


In those years, the Post was the only Agency through which families received letters, gift parcels, and cash remittances from their relatives overseas.


The Parcel Post Department served as the means by which many of the dry goods and hardware stores imported their stock in that era. Then World War II occurred and plunged the world into much uncertainty. Barbados was not unscathed because as a result of the War, a special department known as the Censor Office was created in 1939. This office was located in a room under the Senate in the Parliament Buildings, and there all incoming and outgoing overseas mail, which showed no sign of being censored, was intercepted. Letters and packets were opened to determine their content. Any reference to the movement of ships was blotted out to protect ships travelling in the region from espionage and then the mail was resealed with a special Censor Label.


From these early beginings the Barbados postal system took shape and today serves the entire island with many services including doorstep deliver of your mail. Unlike other colonies, Barbados never used the British Post Offices stamps but always had their own.


The migratory periods during the 20th Century were very profitable periods for the Barbados Post with records showing that in the 1950s, British Postal Orders paid to Barbadians exceeded $3 million.


In 1958, Mr. Robert Clarke, the first Colonial Postmaster of African ancestry, had the foresight to introduce a shift system and extended business hours in order to better manage the increased business activity of the Post Office.


In an effort to contribute to the personal and professional development of postal workers, departmental training courses for clerical staff, Postal Assistants and Postmen were introduced in 1961.


The Barbados Philatelic Bureau was established in 1968 for the purpose of promoting the sale of postage stamps in the very lucrative market worldwide.

Postal Service Old Stamps, Barbados Pocket GuideFollowing exposure to international developments in the postal service as a result of participation in conferences around the world, a highly specialised International Postal Affairs branch was introduced. This division was to be headed by a knowledgeable and experienced senior postal official. In 1971 therefore, a post of Assistant Postmaster General responsible for international postal affairs was established and Mr. Lloyd Weekes was appointed to the position on August 16, 1971.


As a result of involvement in the UPU, Barbados was able to host its first international postal conference, the pre-Congress Conference of Commonwealth Postal Administrations, from September 2nd to 5th, 1979. This meeting served as preparation for the 1979 Universal Postal Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during September and October.


In 1984 the Barbados Government, for the first time, authorised the Postmaster General to sign the Acts of the Hamburg Congress “ad referendum” in addition to the Minister with responsibility for the postal services. Prior to this Congress only the Minister was authorised to sign the Acts of Congress.


Another significant development in Barbados’ postal services was the introduction of the Express Mail Service to the USA and the United Kingdom from October 1st 1984. The idea to develop this service to attract new business and retain old customers came as a result of a Barbados delegation’s attendance at an International Express Mail Service Conference in Washington in 1983. This prompted Barbados to negotiate its first Express Mail Agreements with the USA and the UK during 1984.


Today, in spite of competition from commercial delivery services, the Barbados Post can boast of door-to-door delivery to 90,000 households in Barbados. Thus contributing to our reputation for a highly developed postal service for all citizens.


This fine reputation has made Barbados the region's leader in postal policy.


Barbados joined the Postal Union (the predecessor of today’s Universal Postal Union or UPU) in 1881, which makes the island one of the Organisation’s longest serving members.


However, when Barbados gained independence from the United Kingdom on November 30th 1966, the island assumed responsibility for its international postal affairs, which were previously the responsibility of the United Kingdom. This new status also meant that Barbados was admitted to the United Nations, thus becoming eligible for full membership of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), as a new entity.


The UPU is a non-political organisation that serves as the primary forum for co-operation between postal services around the globe. With a mission to develop social, cultural and commercial communication between people through the efficient operation of the postal service, the UPU plays an important role in promoting the continued revitalisation of postal services.


One of the Organisation’s functions is to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.


The UPU also fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and renders technical assistance as needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volumes and to improve the quality of service to customers.


Barbados is so esteemed at the highest decision-making level of international postal affairs that the island now serves on the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Council of Administration, one of its very influential bodies, and the one which ensures the continuity of the work of the UPU between Congresses.


Since the 22nd Universal Postal Union’s Congress in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, Barbados has been serving as the Vice Chairman of the Council of Administration (CA).


This Council supervises the activities of the UPU and studies regulatory, administrative, legislative and legal issues. It comprises 41 member countries and meets annually at the Headquarters of the UPU in Berne.


To ensure that the UPU is able to react quickly to changes in the postal environment, the CA has the power to approve proposals by the Postal Operations Council (the UPU's technical and operational body) for the adoption of regulations or new procedures between Congresses.


During its tenure on the Council, Barbados has played an integral part in the process of reforming postal administrations.


Postal Tips

Place stamps on the right corner of the envelope


Mail should always be weighed to determine correct postage


Ensure that your mail has the compete address before posting. Include postal codes for faster delivery.


Always place the recipient’s address in the centre of the envelope.


Your address should be placed either on the top left corner or on the back of the envelope. This ensures the return of your mail in the event that it is undelivered.


To ensure that you always receive your mail after changing your address, always complete a Redirection Notice at your District Post Office.


When cashing pension cheques, money order etc., please present your identification card.


When purchasing a Money Order be sure to complete your requisition form before reaching the cashier


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