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Ep 153: Going Postal - William Reginald Bray and his perplexing parcels

This "envelope" crocheted by Bray's mother was just the tip of the iceberg for this postal adventurer. Alex is diving deep into the activities of a delightfully eccentric chap who tested the Post Office to it's limits.

After thoroughly examining the regulations Bray decided to send items through the post without wrapping them up. He wrote the address directly on the item itself - things like a shirt collar, a cuff or a shoe brush.

But inanimate objects are no fun! Why stop there? Bray posted his dog. Yes, his dog, (have a listen to see how the practicalities of that worked out). And then himself - at least twice....

Once he'd paid postage for himself and his bike, he was delivered home. Here we see his Dad - super thrilled by the looks of it, taking receipt of both Bray and his bicycle.

This and many of the other images here come from the excellent where you can ( and both Alex and I have) lose many an hour browsing through the extraordinary items Wray posted to himself.

Here he is posting onions into a letter box. Nicely labelled. And just any old letter box either - I think it's a penfold. The hexagonal type of letter box that enthusiasts would be delighted to track down.

Some of his cards were interestingly shaped. Some had the addresses written in code, or using pictures, making puzzles for the postman, or hidden in a poem. Can you find his address on this cartoon cut out? It's for the front door above by the way, the one in the bicycle delivery snapshot.

And during the pod Alex goes rummaging for a coconut. As you do. One that she was sent, by her Dad from Belize. Beautifully painted and addressed on the back, just the sort of thing Bray would have loved:

Sometimes he sent postcards asking for information and a signature. This one to The Professor at the Ben Nevis Observatory, came back annotated with dates as requested. Some of the postcards are a record of buildings we've lost - like the Cannon St Hotel or the much lamented Euston Arch:

And he also collected plain autographs - around 36,000 of them. No wonder he called himself the Autograph King!

Here's Andre Citroen of the car company.

And Charlie Chaplin. Acquired in 1931 - the same year he got a reply from Dame Barbara Cartland. Click on any image to head over to to see more for yourself. They are organised by date, so it's fine but time consuming browse!

Here's a few that might ring a bell with you our loyal listeners:

And finally - one of his attempts that didn't pay off. Insufficiently addressed and returned to him with a charge. Much like the time he sent a penny in the post - how much was he charged to get that delivered?

This one we all would answer, wouldn't we?

What would William Reginald Bray do with emails and Instagram?

What should you do?

Get in touch, of course! - find all our details here.

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