Mail Obsession

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Each of the United Kingdom's 124 post codes has a story to tell, an unexpected nugget to dust off and treasure: NG (Nottingham): Batman's home city of Gotham is named after a Nottinghamshire village; NR (Norwich): some of the earliest human footprints are preserved on a beach in Norfolk; AB (Aberdeen): the left leg of Scottish hero William Wallace is buried in St Machar's Cathedral; CR (Croydon): the name Croydon means "valley of the crocuses;" DN (Doncaster): Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was written by a Cleethorpes man called Rodney. Mark Mason has set off on a mission to visit every single postcode, immersing himself in local folklore on a roundabout journey from AB to ZE. Along the way are unusual place names—ever stayed in Pity Me, or stopped off in No Place?—curious monuments and ghoulish tales of strange burials, from the sarcophagus of a mummified duke to the four different resting places of William Wallace. He encounters German spies, cross-dressing criminals, and the only wild cows in Britain, visits the UK's smallest church, and enjoys a pint in its tiniest pub. His travels also provide the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the Royal Mail and learn about pillar boxes, posties, and Penny Reds—plus Oscar Wilde's unconventional method of posting a letter. A playful mix of fact, anecdote and personal observation, Mail Obsession pays homage to the rich and eccentric history of Britain, with each of its post codes as a piece of the puzzle.


Mark Mason is a lover of trivia, the "little things that slip down the back of life's sofa," in his own words. Before becoming a writer, he sold Christmas cards in Harrods, played guitar in a blues band, and made radio programs for the BBC. His other books include The Importance of Being Trivial, Walk the Lines and Move Along, Please.