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A New U3A Shared Learning Project: "Our 1901 Postal Pensioners"

A New U3A Shared Learning Project: "Our 1901 Postal Pensioners"
04 September 2020

Jennifer Simpson talks about a new shared learning project looking at the health of Post Office workers in 1901.

Our 1901 Postal Pensioners” is a new U3A Shared Learning Project, in partnership with Kings College London and the London Postal Museum.

By taking part, you will be contributing to important research into occupational health in the Edwardian era. “Our 1901 Postal Pensioners” forms part of a larger project, “Addressing Health” funded by the Wellcome Trust* that looks at postal workers' health in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Researchers from U3A will work together to conduct research looking at the health of Post Office workers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and South West England in 1901. These represent approximately 100 people. We have chosen 1901 because it is the first year in which a full census is available for all of Ireland, Scotland, and England.

The Post Office was a major employer, with 167,000 employees by 1901. They kept careful records of the amount of sickness and causes of retirement for each employee. Using approximately 30,000 pension records, we will be able to identify how worker’s health varied over time and across different parts of the country.

This research will feed into a blog series, ‘Postal Pensioners in 1901’, which will be hosted on the Addressing Health project website.* Postal Pensioners will showcase pieces of original historical writing by U3A Researchers. It will also make available the data collected by U3A Researchers.

This project would be of great interest to anyone who has researched their own family history, has a relative who was employed by the Post Office or anyone interested in social or medical history.

The research can be done at home, but we will be looking into ways of meeting up regularly to share experiences. Full training and instructions will be given to make this research as easy as possible.

*The project is funded by a Wellcome Collaborative Award in Humanities and Social Science and is a collaboration between King’s College LondonKingston UniversityUniversity of Derby and University College London, in partnership with The Postal Museum.

*For further information about the project see

Contact: Jennifer Simpson, National SLP coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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