The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (RMSP) was founded by James MacQueen. While a young man, he lived on Grenada and managed a sugar plantation. He traveled throughout the Caribbean, forming ideas on the flow of trade and correspondence. He created a plan, which he coaxed through the British Parliament, and in 1837 he was granted a Royal Charter for a fleet of steamers to operate from Britain to the Caribbean and Central America, with a route north to New York and Halifax. He received the British Government mail contract in 1840, and the first mail voyages began in 1842. His line eventually grew to include routes to South America and South Africa.

My passion, of course, is for the postcards of the mail steamers, like these by Charles Dixon and Kenneth Shoesmith.

And below, a menu from the “farewell dinner” of a voyage, with an illustration by Kenneth Shoesmith…

And I enjoy this postcard of the Kingston, Jamaica, RMSP office, which has a real “post office” air to it.

For a nice history of The Royal Mail Lines, go here.

More Mail Art

Illustration by Paul Stahr (1883-1953) for Judge magazine, 1919, in which we see that even Air Mail is subject to flight delays.

An illustration of the Post Office in the Government Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893, in Chicago, by Victor Perard (1870-1957).