The Ankh-Morpork Post Office is featured in Going Postal, one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of books and the 2007 Discworld Diary, based on previous mentions in Men at Arms and the 1998 diary.
The Post Office, which was once a vibrant, relevant institution complete with gleaming wooden counters and polished brass, staffed by postmen in spiffy blue uniforms, languished and almost died, according to Mr Tolliver Groat (Junior Postman, later Senior Postman and Postal Inspector), when postmen began to leave half a sack of post behind in order to get home on time. The next day they left another half sack, reasoning they could do it on their day off, by which point too much mail had built up and so much was still left behind. However this was only a minor part of the problem.
Downfall and restoration
The amount of undelivered mail was dramatically increased by the Sorting Engine, created by Bloody Stupid Johnson. This machine was intended to speed up postal delivery, but instead began to produce mail, first from the future (which was fine, because that was seen as really improving delivery times) and then from alternate universes. The reason for this was that Johnson disapproved of pi, and had therefore based the engine around a non-Euclidean wheel, on which the radius divided into the circumference exactly three times, thereby creating an area of dimensional instability. It was impossible to deliver all the letters, and most of them couldn't be delivered, as they hadn't been sent in this universe.
The Post Office was reduced to a massive building crammed floor to ceiling with undelivered letters and staffed solely by geriatric Junior Postman Groat, along with his pin-collecting companion Stanley. By the time of Going Postal it had long been forgotten, the building daubed with graffiti, the mail coaches appropriated for passenger travel by the coachmen and its services rendered apparently useless by the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company.
Lord Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician of the city of Ankh-Morpork, then appointed Moist von Lipwig, a former con-man, to restore the Post Office as a means of curtailing the power of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company. With Lipwig as Postmaster-General, the Post Office was restored to something approaching its former glory. Lipwig invented the postage stamp, giving a new hobby to young men like Stanley who were formerly obsessed with pin collecting. With the craze of variously-priced, flavoured stamps taking off, Lipwig went on to restore mail coach services to the towns of Sto Lat and Genua. As the clacks lines became less reliable, the Post Office became stiff competition for semaphore.
Ultimately, Lipwig succeeded in bringing down Reacher Gilt, chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, by using a well placed lie and thus restored the Post Office's supremacy in delivering Morporkian messages. Lord Vetinari then handed the Grand Trunk company over to Moist, who planned to give it back to the Dearheart family, from whom it was unjustly taken.
Moist von Lipwig
See main article
One of the two remaining employees of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office prior to Moist von Lipwig being made Postmaster. Raised by peas (no further explanation is given), Stanley has a tendency towards obsessive behaviour, coupled with violent incidents when under stress. He used to be one of the more obsessive of Ankh-Morpork's large number of pin collectors (called 'pinheads'), to the point that all the other collectors thought he was "a bit weird about pins". Fortunately his liking for pins can be used to calm him down from his, as called in the books, 'Little Moments'.
However, following the events of Going Postal, in which the destruction of his collection coincided with the invention of the postage stamp, he redirected his obsession to stamp collecting and philately.
Stanley's surname was not revealed in the book, but is given in various peripheral material relating to Discworld stamps. It is a play on Stanley Gibbons.
One of the two remaining employees of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office prior to Moist von Lipwig being made Postmaster. A very old man in a cheap "prunes", (or "wig", from the Dimwell Arrhythmic Rhyming Slang: "syrup of prunes: wig"), Groat had spent most of his career in the Post Office as a Junior Postman, since until von Lipwig's arrival none of the other Postmasters appointed by Lord Vetinari had survived long enough to promote him. Groat doesn't trust doctors, which is perfectly understandable since there are very few reliable doctors in Ankh-Morpork. He instead treats himself with a variety of apparently dubious "natural" home remedies (later revealed to be, in actuality, extraordinarily effective), including concoctions made with sulfur or arsenic, and a poultice made of bread pudding. He is a habitual speaker of the only known rhyming slang in the universe that does not actually rhyme.
Tolliver also had a very small part in Wintersmith. The wintersmith approaches him to take some sulphur, so that he would become a man. This incident was reported in The Ankh Morpork Times, and a widow approached him, swayed by 'a man who knows his hygiene.' It is now believed that they are enjoying a relationship, as she was seen walking with him.
His trousers and socks are confirmed as being highly explosive, as a result of the gunpowder solution they are treated with. His wig is believed to be sentient, and is certainly self-mobile, having escaped from a cupboard in the hospital.
In Making Money, Groat was promoted to the position of Postmaster General while Moist von Lipwig assumed his de facto position as chairman of the Royal Bank of Ankh Morpork. Presumably he remained in that position after the novel ended.
Mr. Tiddles is a very old cat with a very set routine of walking through the Post Office. He follows it exactly; if there is an obstruction he will butt against it until the path is clear. When the Post Office burns down in Going Postal Moist goes back into the burning Post Office to save Mr. Tiddles. Ultimately Mr. Tiddles and Moist are saved by the dillegent, unrelenting firefighting efforts of the city's golems, many of them Post Office employees themselves. In Making Money Moist regrets that every day at 11:30 AM he gets up and moves a chair so that Mr. Tiddles can pass by it.
The motto of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office is "Neither rain nor snow nor gl om of ni t can stay these mes engers abo t their duty." Fortunately, the missing letters were recovered, by threats of violence and charges of theft, and by the use of a large crowbar, from the hairdresser's 'HUGOS', allowing the motto to be restored to its correct spelling.
By a strange coincidence, the motto is very similar to the motto of another Post Office in the Multiverse.
During the Post Office's decline, a list of things that would, in fact, stay these messengers, was added to the sign. The most notable is Mrs. Cake, listed twice. Mrs. Cake is not to be asked about.