500 Years of Postal History celebrated on stamps
A commemorative set of stamps is to be issued by Guernsey Post, marking 500 years of Postal History since Henry VIII knighted Brian Tuke, the first Master of the Posts, in 1516.
For this special issue Guernsey Post has delved into the history of the development of the world’s first national postal service both in the Channel Islands and the UK to discover who, and what, has shaped the postal service of today.
Royal Mail coach 1784 (43p).
In 1784 theatre owner John Palmer organised a rapid carriage service to transport actors and props between theatres. He believed a similar scheme could improve the postal service and following its success, other routes quickly followed.
Ariadne R.M. Steam boat 1824 (57p).
A famous Guernsey Captain J Bazin commanded a three-masted paddle steamer by William Evans of Rotherhythe, the Ariadne. The Customs Register shows that by 1836 Ariadne was owned by the South of England Steam Packet Company.
Smith Street, St Peter Port 1883 (58p).
On May 22nd 1883, the Guernsey Post Office moved to Nelson Place, an attractive building in Smith Street, St. Peter Port, with new premises designed to meet Post Office requirements. Today, the Guernsey Post Office is located across the road from Nelson Place, however, as a listed building, Nelson Place still displays the original Post Office signage to this day.
R.M Underground railway 1927 (64p).
In 1927 the Post Office underground railway – Mail Rail - opened, running from east to west beneath London. At its peak the railway was running 22 hours a day, moving millions of items of mail across the capital. It closed in 2003, however plans have been announced to reopen a stretch of Mail Rail to the public as part of a £26m project at The Postal Museum.
Post Office Tower 1965 (70p).
One of London’s most famous landmarks, Post Office tower was topped out on 15 July 1964 and officially opened by then Prime Minister Harold Wilson on 8 October 1965. The tower was designated an official secret and did not appear on Ordnance Survey maps until after it was officially revealed by Kate Hoey under parliamentary privilege in 1993.
Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre (HWDC) 2003 (78p).
Highly automated, HWDC contains over seven miles of conveyors linking eight integrated mail processors, three flat sorting machines and a purpose built packet sorting machine. In a world first, the machine uses voice-coding technology to sort packets.
Guernsey Post’s acting head of philatelic, Bridget Yabsley, said: - “Our commemorative stamps reflect how incredible our postal history is and its ability to adapt and innovate over the years. The postal service has survived 21 monarchs and two World Wars, employed hundreds of thousands of people and been at the forefront of new technology.
“We are particularly thrilled to include stamps which specifically reflect Guernsey’s significance in this history, including a depiction on our miniature sheet of one of the oldest pillar boxes in the British Isles, which is still in use in Guernsey today.”
The stamps and related products are available to pre-order from 11th July by visiting www.guernseystamps.com or by contacting philatelic customer services on (01481) 716486.