The Postal Museum reveals 151 years of the British postcard in a new exhibition opening April 2021

2020 marked the 150th anniversary of the British Postcard. On 1 April 2021, The Postal Museum will open a new exhibition, Wish You Were Here, celebrating the iconic role the postcard has played in connecting people for more than a century and a half. The exhibition was originally scheduled for 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Postcard of South Sands at Scarborough, early 1900s © The Postal Museum

The British postcard’s history dates back to 1870, when it became an innovation of its time, opening new and faster correspondence for everyone in Britain. Postcards were used to send secret messages of love, to boost morale for soldiers at war and to boast from holidays near and afar.

Exhibition highlights will include:

  • The first British postcard from 1870; a pre-paid postcard template with a blank front which sparked the public’s obsession for rapid communications.
  • Early 20th century illustrated postcards from Harry to his sweetheart Olive with hidden messages in the stamps.
  • Correspondence by Rifleman Harry Brown that captures the First World War through the postcards he sent home to his mother.
  • On loan from Kirklees Museums and Galleries original artwork produced by Bamforth & Co Ltd featuring classic seaside postcards and those deemed inappropriate for sale. 
  • Contemporary art where the postcard acts as the inspiration or the medium for artists such as Francesca Colussi Cramer.

Visitors will be invited to reflect on the many guises of the postcard across themes including romance, First World War correspondence, the great British seaside, contemporary art and the postcard in a digital age.

They will be asked to reflect on whether the postcard has lost its place in the modern age of even more instant communication, or if it will undergo a rebirth, as people make a move to reclaim the emotional connection a postcard can deliver.

Exhibition Curator Georgina Tomlinson said:

“We really want our visitors to be curious about the future of the postcard. An innovation of its day, people became obsessed with sending and collecting postcards – they documented the significant and mundane of everyday life much like social media today. We hope the exhibition will evoke both a sense of nostalgia and invite our visitors to think about the different ways they connect with friends and family and how that might have been influenced by this innovation in communication from 1870.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by events throughout 2021 at The Postal Museum and online. Details to be announced soon.

Wish You Were Here: 151 Years of the British Postcard

1 April 2021 – 2 January 2022 (opening subject to COVID-19 restrictions)

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

Coastal Towers to feature on Jersey’s Post & Go stamps

Six of Jersey’s iconic coastal towers will feature on a new set of Post & Go stamps to be issued by Jersey Post on 17 February 2021.

Jersey’s coastline is dotted with towers and fortifications, from Georgian and Victorian era battlements intended to defend the Island from French invasion, through to concrete strongpoints and observation and communication buildings constructed around the coast by the occupying German forces during World War II.

These six Post & Go stamps, designed by digital illustrator, Mark Boardman, feature: Archirondel Tower, Marine Peilstand 3, Seymour Tower, La Tour de Vinde, Victoria Tower and La Rocco Tower. Boardman has depicted the towers as they can be found today, with people enjoying them and their surroundings.

Post & Go stamps are self-adhesive stamp labels with the postage printed on demand. They can be bought either as single stamps or in strips of six. As well as being available to vend from the JE02 kiosk at Jersey’s main Broad Street post office and from the JE03 kiosk at Postal Headquarters, Rue Des Pres, Jersey Coastal Towers Collectors’ Strips will be available from Jersey Post’s back office B002 kiosk through the Philatelic Bureau.

Artist, Mark Boardman works digitally to produce illustrations with a crisp, textural style and a sense of atmosphere. Whilst he employs modern methods of working, Mark is inspired by Impressionist painting and enjoys finding the atmospheric side to everyday scenes.
Jersey Coastal Towers Post & Go stamps and philatelic stamp products such as First Day Covers and Presentation Packs will be available from the Jersey post offices at Broad Street, St Helier and Rue Des Pres, St Saviour on issue day and can be ordered now at or by telephoning the Jersey Philatelic Bureau on: 00 44 (0)1534 616717.

On Friday 1 January 2021, The Postal Museum will reopen both Post & Go machines with stamps 1st and 2nd class Machins.

Both kiosks will be located at The Postal Museum’s Welcome Space and no admission ticket will be required to access the services. You will not be able to access any other areas of the building on this day.

Additional safety measures have been introduced such as a hand sanitizer station, a one-in-one-out access and information on how to scan the NHS Test and Trace QR code located near the machines.

The machines will vend the Machin stamps of all values with no new overprint but will have the new 2021 price updates and year code. These stamps will not be available to purchase online and nor will we be able to offer delivery to anyone who cannot attend on the day.
Both Post & Go machines are available at The Postal Museum from 10am until 4pm on Friday 1 January only.