Monthly Archives: August 2011

Culture and Diversity in the archives

On 13 August we will be holding our annual Archive Open Day on the theme Culture and Diversity. This free event will feature displays, talks and exclusive behind-the-scene tours.

Our special guests on the day will be members of the Post Office and BT Art Club, a 105 year old organisation which is the last remaining link between the Post Office and BT (British Telecom). The Club meets once a month to paint, and holds an exhibition every year. Join them on the day to view and discuss their work.

Owl by Post Office and BT Art Club member Alexander Ammah

Owl by Post Office and BT Art Club member Alexander Ammah

Also on show will be records relating to the 1968 and 1977 Race Relations Act, as well as files relating to postal packets addressed in the Irish language. Mail addressed in Gaelic was translated at the earliest stage of circulation, a position unpopular with the Gaelic League who was seeking to promote the use of the Irish language. The files date from 1900 to 1960 and contain details of the numerous questions raised in Parliament about the position, as well as media cuttings.

Additional exhibits will include files relating to local datestamps, which will show how these tied in with issues of local identity.

Come along to our Archive Search Room between 10am and 5pm on 13 August. Our archives team will be pleased to show you around. For further details see our website.

The Englishman Who Posted Himself & Other Curious Objects

Just added to our podcast is a recording of a talk given at the BPMA by John Tingey, author of The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects. John Tingey’s talk, based on his book about the eccentric habits of W. Reginald Bray, took place in March in front of a packed audience.

W Reginald Bray in his study with some of his collection

W Reginald Bray in his study with some of his collection

W. Reginald Bray was an enthusiast and collector who enjoyed testing the Post Office Regulations to their limits. Bray posted items including a frying pan, a turnip, seaweed, and even himself on more than one occasion. He also tried the postal service’s patience by experimenting with ways of addressing letters and cards, using drawings, collage and codes.

Download the podcast at