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Iceni Magazine | August 14, 2022

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The Death of the Letter

The Death of the Letter

Handwritten notes and letters are in serious decline.

Email, text messages and other forms of instantaneous communication have gained in popularity over the past few decades, leaving the simple pen and paper approach almost defunct.

Rewind to the twentieth century and it was the norm to thank people for Christmas and birthday gifts through the medium of a letter. Although for some, it was easier to pick up the phone, most family members and friends seemed to appreciate the effort taken to handwrite a letter. Writing sets with beautiful note paper and fountain pens offer nostalgia to many.

A recent YouGov survey indicates that very few people take the time to write handwritten thank you notes. In fact, just 7% of the 1933 adults surveyed said they ‘often do’. Conversely, a whopping 38% stated that they ‘never do’ with a further 27% declaring that they ‘rarely do’.

Rebecca commented: “I absolutely love writing letters, but I find it much quicker to send emails. It saddens me to think that times have changed so much, but finding a stamp, and then getting to the post office or box if there still is one in your town or village. Stamps cost a lot too, so clicking ‘send’ on an email is so much quicker, easier and mostly, it’s absolutely free.”

Not only did letter writing bring so many writers joy, but also their recipients. Arthur recalls: “I loved it when my children, who had moved away to university and subsequently set up homes in other towns and cities, sent me letters. Hearing the letterbox bang and seeing a handwritten letter in a white envelope, not a brown bill, filled me with excitement. Of course, telephone calls were important too, but knowing that my children had taken the time out of their busy lives to tell me all about it was very precious.”


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