I am writing a story set in the winter in 1940's London. The first chapter features one main character receiving a newspaper. The building is not very grand; in fact, it's a rather dirty and slightly rundown apartment, very crowded. So I really just want to know:

  1. Did paper boys deliver in bulk to apartments or did they just sell on street corners and
  2. If they did deliver, would they deliver to such a building?

Note, this is post-war.

  • 4
    Tell us about the research you did before posting this question.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 15:45
  • 1
    What is an apartment? (In 1940s London)?
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 18:24
  • this photo suggests that newspapers were delivered in the 1940's . Also note Wikipedia, "By the 1930s, over two-thirds of the population read a newspaper every day, with "almost everyone" taking one on Sundays.[38]"
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 20:12
  • 1
    I believe the paperboy was an American invention, so it may not be relevant to London. See this, I was a paperboy in the 70s...found memories...
    – user15620
    Commented Dec 24, 2020 at 21:42
  • @mmmmmm apartments were common in 1940s london - admittedly not in all districts Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


Yes. Any type of apartment in London would be close to a newsagent and thus, if you had an account with that newsagent, then a paperboy would deliver through your letterbox. However, there were also postal subscriptions for some newspapers. You notified them of your change of address and they would either arrange delivery by a local newsagent or deliver by post.

One caveat. During the War, there was much disruption. In particular, the evacuation of children affected delivery. However, after the War, there would have been no difficulty.

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