The British Postal Museum and Archive

The British Postal Museum and Archive
Freeling House
Phoenix Place
London
Greater London
WC1X 0DL
England

Website

www.postalheritage.org.uk

E-mail

info@postalheritage.org.uk

Telephone

Enquiries /Event booking

020 7239 2570

Fax

020 7239 2576

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
BPMA
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The British Postal Museum & Archive cares for the visual, written and physical records of over 400 years of postal development. We are responsible for managing The Royal Mail Archive on behalf of Royal Mail Group plc. and own the former National Postal Museum object collections, a donation from Royal Mail Group plc.

The entire collection of the British Postal Museum & Archive
is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archive

Opening hours

The Royal Mail Archive is open from 1000-1700 Mon-Fri, and from 1000-1900 Thurs. We are also open on selected Saturdays 1000-1700 (PLEASE CALL OR SEE WEBSITE FOR DATES). No appointment needed for most archive material. The philatelic collection may be viewed by appointment - please call for details.

Closed: Sundays, Bank Holidays and Christmas week. Annual stocktake closure period (PLEASE CALL OR SEE WEBSITE FOR DATES).

Admission charges

Free entry to the Search Room and exhibition area. Please bring ID.

Additional info

The Royal Mail Archive is open for the public to use and enjoy. We also have a small exhibition area at The Royal Mail Archive to show highlights from our philatelic collections. You can visit the exhibition for free whenever the archive is open.

The entire collection of the British Postal Museum & Archive is a Designated Collection of national importance.

The archives relate to the operation, policy, development and social impact of the British Post Office from 1636 to the present day. The collection is outstanding in terms of its evidential, historical and cultural value and represents a comprehensive and complete coverage of the role the Post Office in employment history, overseas expansion, communications and community cohesion.

We are a combined Museum and Archive...an internationally important resource for social - and postal - history.

The Royal Mail Archive is open to the public 5-6 days a week. It contains records of The Post Office and Royal Mail from the seventeenth century to the present day.

The British Postal Museum Store houses objects ranging from the desk of Rowland Hill (founder of the Penny Post), to Mobile Post Office vehicles and an astounding assortment of letter boxes. The store is open to the public on various dates throughout the summer (PLEASE CALL OR SEE WEBSITE FOR DATES).

Collection details

Trade and Commerce, Toys and Hobbies, Social History, Science and Technology, Photography, Music, Literature, Land Transport, Industry, Film and Media, Design, Costume and Textiles, Aviation, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Penny Black
  • Great Britain Stamps
  • Phillips Philatelic Collection
  • Letterboxes
  • Postal vehicles
  • Postal uniforms
  • Sorting machines
  • Hand stamps
  • Posters
  • Artwork
  • Photographs
  • Documentary films
  • Family History sources
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Men sorting parcels into bags POST 56/6

Last Post: Remembering the First World War

  • 5 April — 13 December 2014 *on now

To mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, the BPMA are exhibiting an extended version of Last Post, at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron (part of Ironbridge Gorge Museums). On display will be a wealth of BPMA First World War objects, and material from Shropshire-born First World War Officer Wilfred Owen.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Where

National Tour (please see link for venue information)

Admission

Please see link for further details on admission at the various sites.

Website

http://postalheritage.org.uk/page/last-post-tour

The Post Office Rifles on parade in the yard of King Edward Building, London (POST 56/6)

Flagship Exhibition - Last Post: Remembering the First World War

  • 11 April 2014 — 27 March 2015 *on now

To mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, the BPMA are exhibiting an extended version of Last Post, at the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron (part of Ironbridge Gorge Museums). On display will be a wealth of BPMA First World War objects, and material from Shropshire-born First World War Officer Wilfred Owen.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Where

Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron
Shropshire
TF8 7DQ

Admission

Annual passport tickets and single site tickets are available which include entry to the exhibition in the admission price. See link for more info: http://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

Website

http://postalheritage.org.uk/page/last-post-coalbrookdale

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Photograph of parcels containing the effects of German soldiers killed in action.

To Warwick with Love

  • 14 August 2014 7-8pm

The brutal impact of the First World War tore through all levels of society; from the poorest labourers to the wealthiest landowners. BPMA has teamed up with Warwick Castle’s History Team to reveal for the first time the hidden trauma of how war tore apart the family of the Earl of Warwick, told through the intimate postcards sent by a mother and father on the Front Line to their children back home. These postcards reveal the trauma, tragedy, heartbreak, and irony of the Great War and how it tore apart this aristocratic family. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£3.00 per person. £2.50 for concessions.

Website

http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/page/to-warwick-with-love

photogrpah of australian imperial force on the western front

Postal Censorship during the First World War

  • 18 September 2014 7-8pm

The scale of the First World War forced the post office to adopt a number of previously unheard of practices including the censorship of mail both at home and on the front lines. Join Graham Mark as he explores the vital role of censorship and reveals some of the special war-time methods employed by the post office to ensure mail got to its destination, mitigate the risk of loss due to hostile action, and allow contact with enemy countries. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£3.00 per person. £2.50 for concessions.

Website

http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/page/postal-censorship-during-the-first-world-war

Photograph of woman with a letter

A War of Letters with Emma Harper

  • 16 October 2014 6-8pm

Throughout the First World War the post office had to adapt to a joint role as both messenger and censor. This talk will examine the effect that role had on the style and form of communication and in particular letter writing. From field service postcards to honour envelopes, the official notification of a loved one missing or killed in action to heart wrenching last letters, join Emma Harper on a journey to discover a war of letters. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£5.00 per person.

Website

http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/page/a-war-of-letters-with-emma-harper

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Messages Through Time

http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/learning

Messages Through Time is a document pack produced in 2003 for use by schools at Key Stage 3.
Messages Through Time gives a glimpse into the huge and fascinating collection in The Royal Mail Archive.
It comes in two parts: a collection of documents, and a teachers' handbook. The teachers' handbook is organised into themes related to the Key Stage 3 History curriculum and starts with a section exploring examples of historical evidence. Further themes follow the chronological programmes of study, as well as suggesting activities for Citizenship.
Each theme includes class activities and photocopy masters for Activity Sheets. The documents themselves are accompanied by detailed descriptions

How to obtain

To obtain a high-quality printed hard copy for £10, please email info@postalheritage.org.uk
To view Messages Through Time online visit our website www.postalheritage.org.uk

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