The Postal Museum to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee with a new Post & Go overprint

The Postal Museum is set to release a new overprint on its Post & Go machines to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Postal Museum/Platinum Jubilee overprint © The Postal Museum

The overprint “The Postal Museum/The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee” will be printed on the multicoloured “Machin 50th anniversary” stamps and will run from 3 June to 1 July 2022.

Each of six anniversary Machin stamps comprises a different colour and will be overprinted with the standard UK first class (up to 100g) value. They will temporarily replace the existing “Mail by Air” stamps for the duration of the overprint. These stamps will be available from the Post & Go machine in the museum’s welcome space, either singly or in strips of six.

The overprint “Mail Rail/The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee” will be printed on standard “Machin first class” stamps of all values. These stamps will be available as a collector’s strip of six and as individual values from the Post & Go machine in the Mail Rail’s welcome space from 3 June to 1 July 2022.

The Postal Museum will be joining other Royal Mail Post & Go sites in offering this Jubilee overprint – the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) site at HMS Victory in Portsmouth, NMRN Submarine Museum in Gosport, NMRN Explosion Museum also in Gosport, Fleet Air Arm Museum in Ilchester, HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford Upon Avon and STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.

In addition to Post & Go stamps, there will be a limited run of 150 First Day Covers featuring all six of the multicoloured “Machin 50th anniversary” stamps with the new Jubilee overprint. These First Day Covers will be limited to 10 per customer. Blank Covers with a Jubilee Insert will also be available to purchase. All products can be pre-ordered online at shop.postalmuseum.org from 30 May with expected deliveries from 6 June onwards.

Both Post & Go machines are available at The Postal Museum throughout the museum’s opening hours. Please check the full opening hours at www.postalmuseum.org/visit-us/.

Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes

The Postal Museum is set to mark the opening of the new temporary exhibition Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes with Post & Go stamps. The new “Sorting Britain” overprint will appear on the first-class Machin stamps and the Union Flag stamps from 30 March 2022.

In addition to Post & Go stamps, there will be a range of products available such as a First Day Cover. This limited edition of 200 First Day Covers will feature two first-class stamps each – one Machin and one Union Flag design with the ‘’Sorting Britain” overprint. They will be cancelled with the official handstamp for The Postal Museum and are individually numbered.

Available for purchase is also a limited number of 150 Presentation Packs which will contain a collectors strip of Union Flag stamps and the first-class strip of 1st Class Machins with the ‘’Sorting Britain” overprint enclosed in a fold-out card with information about the exhibition.

The overprint on stamps, Presentation Packs and First Day Covers will be available on site and online at shop.postalmuseum.org from 30 March to 1 January 2023.

Two Post & Go machines are available at The Postal Museum throughout the museum’s opening hours.

New exhibition reveals ground-breaking technology that revolutionised Britain and the post forever

Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes
30 March 2022 – 1 January 2023

From wartime tech pioneers to ‘Poco the Postcode Elephant’ the surprising story of the postcode is uncovered in a new temporary exhibition at The Postal Museum in London.

Opening on Wednesday 30 March, Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes, delves into the Post Office innovation that revolutionised how post was processed, sorted, and delivered and its unintended outcomes for life in Britain.

Exhibition highlights include:

  • ELSIE, one of the only original 1950s Electronic Letter Sorting Indicating Equipment left in existence, goes on display for the first time in 20 years, as visitors try their hand at coding post.
  • Discover ‘Poco the Postcode Elephant’ which became one of the biggest advertising campaigns of the 1980s.
  • From hearing aids to Colossus – the world’s first programable computer – understand how the Post Office was one of the biggest innovators in mid-century Britain.
  • Stunning unseen maps of London from the 19th century to be displayed.

Postcodes are part of everyday life. They affect everything from communications and identity to house prices and care. Postcodes were trialled in Norwich in 1959, but their story goes back further. The exhibition explains the early postal districts of London, Liverpool and Manchester in the 1850s and 1860s to the modern coding we know today.

Tech pioneers Tommy Flowers, Dame Stephanie Shirley CH and Sir Gordon Radley, were some of the brilliant minds working at the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill in the 1930s to 60s. Their impact will be explored, from postal mechanisation and postcodes to inventions like Colossus, the world’s first programmable electronic computer, and even hearing aids.

ELSIE, original 1950s Electronic Letter Sorting Indicating Equipment, will give visitors the chance to try coding the post:

  • In 1960, there were around 28 million letters and packages passing through the postal system every day.
  • With the help of ELSIE and coded post, an operator could sort up to 110 letters a minute, or about 6,000 letters an hour.
  • It contained 144 destination pigeonholes.
  • Around 8 million packages a day were incorrectly labelled, ending up in the ‘Dead Letter Office’ where addresses were traced by ingenious methods.

Visitors can find out about the importance of ‘Poco the Postcode Elephant’ – and the array of incredible memorabilia created for it – which helped change the nation’s habits in the 1980s through a decade-long advertising campaign.

And, finally, Sorting Britain will consider ‘what does my postcode say about me?’, as it delves into how postcodes are now used to sort people, as well as post.

Contemporary British artist, Alison Turnbull, has been commissioned to create a response to the exhibition’s themes. Alison is known for transforming and reimagining readymade information, such as plans, diagrams, blueprints and charts, into vivid abstract paintings.

Chris Taft, Head of Collections said:

“There was a great sense of national pride at the heart of the drive for innovation at the Post Office. The mechanisation of traditional systems, and ultimately the adoption of the postcode system, helped changed the face of Britain forever. Today, the advent of new technology continues to change how we communicate with each other at astonishing speed. Sorting Britain is a fascinating look into this little-known history, told through the wonderful collections at The Postal Museum.”

Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes, 30 March 2022 – 1 January 2023

The exhibition will be accompanied by events throughout 2022 at The Postal Museum and online. Details to be announced soon.

Admission included in the ticket price for The Postal Museum (£16 online)

www.postalmuseum.org

The Postal Museum to attend London 2022 International Stamp Exhibition displaying original wood engravings by artist David Gentleman for the first time

The international philatelic event of the decade, London 2022, will take place between 19 to 26 February. The Postal Museum will display original wood engravings crafted and used by David Gentleman during his distinguished career as one of Britain’s best-known stamp designers.

1966 Battle of Hastings pull taken by David Gentleman, Image The Postal Museum
1966 Battle of Hastings pull taken by David Gentleman, Image The Postal Museum

David Gentleman transferred his entire collection of wood engravings, which he used for British postage stamps, to The Postal Museum in 2021 to act as their long-term custodian. The Postal Museum are delighted to display a selection for the very first time this February, before they are catalogued, digitised, and made available for research purposes for years to come.

David Gentleman’s stamp-designing career spanned five decades. He has designed more British postage stamps than any other person, utilising many styles and techniques in his trademark modernist approach. These include watercolours, lithographs, pencil drawings and wood engravings to name a few.

David used this technique for many stamp designs including an issue commemorating the 900th Anniversary of Battle of Hastings in 1966. This work, alongside the 1964 Shakespeare Festival, 1965 Commonwealth Arts Festival, 1963 Ninth International Lifeboat Conference, and in his 1977 take on the Twelve Days of Christmas will be displayed at London 2022 at the museum’s stand number 135, sitting alongside a pull and the final stamp in which the pull features.

This unique display is to complement the issue of the miniature sheet for The Stamp Designs of David Gentleman by Royal Mail, on sale from 18 February 2022.

The Postal Museum will also have a range of products on sale, including Post & Go first day covers and presentation packs and a range of books including signed copies of Senior Curator Douglas N. Muir’s new book Just Large Enough, A Guide to The Postal Museum’s Philatelic Collections.

In addition, while London 2022 is taking place, there will be a further pop-up display of David Gentleman’s never-before-shown craftsmanship at The Postal Museum. On display for the first time will be wood engravings, essays, and stamp artwork for unadopted designs from David Gentleman’s 1966 album of experimental designs and from 1968 anniversaries issues: Suffragette, Captain Cook and RAF bi-plane. The Battle of Hastings 1966 stamp issue will also feature with a showcase of wood engravings, stamp artworks, sketches, first day cover signed by David and a selection of engraving tools. The display can be enjoyed with entry to The Postal Museum.

There will be special overprints on the Post & Go machines at The Postal Museum to mark the international exhibition.


London 2022 International Stamp Exhibition
19 – 26 February 2022
The Postal Museum exhibits at stand 135
Visit www.london2022.co for more information and the full programme of events

David Gentleman’s Pop-Up Exhibition at The Postal Museum
18 – 27 February 2022
Admission to the Museum (£16 online) is separate to London 2022 and can be booked at www.postalmuseum.org