A History of Regency Letters & how to create your own in 7 simple steps

During the Regency era (early 1800s), long before the days of telephones, emails and even telegrams, letter writing was the sole way to maintain relations and share news with distant friends and family. It was an essential part of social life, largely maintained by the women of the household, to keep abreast of invitations, news and events. It was considered an art form and would be taught in school and encouraged from an early age.
 
Fundamental as it was, it was however an expensive exercise. Various factors affected the cost of posting a letter. These included distance (how far is it being posted?), the weight of the letter (is there anything enclosed?), and whether it was a single or double sheet. If the latter occurred, the cost of your letter would be doubled.
 
To keep costs down, a method of folding the letter into itself and writing the address on the outside of the same sheet (a Regency Letter) became a popular and inexpensive way to keep up this custom.
 
Kept alive today in many of Jane Austen’s novels, there is still great fascination with this practice and a certain charm to this lovely artform.


 

To create your own, follow our simple step-by-step guide:

 

Step One

Take a blank sheet of writing paper and write your message on one side.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step One 

 

Step Two

Turn the paper to the side, and fold one side down, as shown.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step Two 

 

Step Three

Repeat on the opposite side, as shown.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step Three 

 

Step Four

Fold the bottom section up halfway, as shown.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step 4

 

Step Five

Fold the top section down, slightly overlapping the bottom half, as shown.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step Five 

 

Step Six

Now that your envelope has taken shape, you’ll need to seal it. Traditional methods would have used a wax seal, which creates a lovely, ornate effect. If you don’t have this to hand, no matter, as using some glue, washi tape or even a sticker will do the job just as well.

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step Six 

 

Step Seven

Turn the envelope over and write the address of your recipient. Add a stamp, and post!

London Letters - Regency Letter Guide Step Seven