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1 North Parade Buildings
Some time during 1772, the following announcement appeared in the Morning Post ,i>'The Bath mail did not arrive so soon by several hours on Monday, owing to the mailman getting a little intoxicated on his way between Newbury and Marlborough, and falling from his horse into a hedge, where he was found asleep by means of his dog'. At that time the mails were carried in relays by mounted post-boys, and the kind of incident recorded above was far from uncommon. John Palmer suggested that mail should be carried in stagecoachesa fairly obvious solution, it would seem, although the Post Office had rejected it as impracticable. But Palmer persisted and, in 1784, the first mail-coach ran from London to Bristol. By the following year the innovation was firmly established, and revenue from the mails increased appreciably. Palmer was made Comptroller-General of the Post Office, but was obliged to retire on pension after a quarrel with the Postmaster-General; he was eventually awarded £50,000 as compensation for the loss of his joba handsome golden handshake indeed, and one that caused a great deal of controversy.
Palmer was born in Bath, and was the son of the proprietor of the Bath and Bristol theatres. After his retirement from the Post Office, eighteen towns, including Bath, presented him with their Freedom. He was twice Mayor of Bath, and four times MP for the city. Like Ralph Allen before him, his Post Office reforms made him a very wealthy man.
His home was at 1 North Parade Buildings, and the bronze tablet there was unveiled in April 1901, by the Marquis of Londonderry, then Postmaster-General.