The Postal Museum, Mail by Air and Ladybird Books
This week we can look forward to not one but three new issues from Royal Mail, all of which engender a sense of history and nostalgia. These sentiments provide a valuable antidote to the troubled times that we are experiencing. World peace is threatened by the actions of North Korea and a destructive hurricane is wreaking havoc on the Caribbean and Florida. It is, perhaps, more heartening to take a look back at yesteryear!
Ladybird Books 14 September 2017
Those of a certain age will have the fondest memories of Ladybird Books. The diminutive volumes were the brainchild of Wills and Hepworth who designed a new format for books during World War II as paper was being rationed. The business eventually became exclusively a publisher of unique books for children which featured the work of leading commercial artists. 650 titles were published including both fictional and factual titles.
Ladybird books were much loved for their beautiful artwork, accessible texts and trustworthy nature. A generation of youngsters grew up with Ladybird and the books are now widely collected. For many, the Ladybird symbol conjures treasured memories of childhood and powerful feelings of nostalgia.
The books are celebrated in 8 stamps showcasing celebrated Ladybird series – Adventures from History, Well-loved Tales, Key Words Reading Scheme, Class Early Tales and Rhymes, Hobbies and How It Works, People at Work, Nature and Conservation and Achievements. The issue also features a fascinating presentation pack and a First Day Cover.
Post and Go: Mail by Air 13 September 2017
In 2017 Post and Go issues are building on the 2016 Royal Mail Heritage stamp issue and reflect the Royal Mail 500 celebrations. The stamps explore the transportation of mail and this third issue focusses on Mail by Air. The attractive stamps chart the history of airmail from the first UK flights in 1911 to the introduction of the Datapost express service in the 1980s.
Mail first took to the skies as early as 1911, just 8 years after the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight. The world’s first airmail was carried at an exhibition in Allahabad, India. Just seven months later, post was flown in the UK on flights from Hendon to Windsor in honour of King George V’s coronation.
In 1919, the first public international air service was founded, carrying passengers between London and Paris. Imperial Airways began operating passenger servicess in 1924 and then established many airmail routes throughout Europe and to both India and Africa. By 1934 mail was being flown to Australia and that same year the first domestic airmail service was launched transporting mail from Inverness to the Orkney Isles.
The stamps illustrate how quickly air transportation and airmail services developed. We may take airmail for granted these days but it really isn’t so long ago that powered flight was itself something of a miracle.
The Postal Museum 13 September 2017
This year has seen the opening of the first new National Museum for over a decade. The Postal Museum is an important new visitor attraction and Royal Mail has created a stamp sheet to commemorate the opening.
The Postal Museum is now open every day and features seven interactive areas. The 500-year history of postal services, the first social network, is explored via a raft of fascinating exhibits. These reveal how the British postal service has always led the world in innovation, including the introduction of the world’s first adhesive postal stamp, the Penny Black. Visitors will learn how the post changed the way that people communicate and how it has fundamentally effected all aspects of life from literacy to commerce.
If you would like to visit the museum, it is located at 15-20 Phoenix Place, London, WC1X 0DA. The museum is adjacent to Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant Mail Centre and just a short walk from both Russel Square and Kings Cross underground stations.