Category Archives: London 2010

Final two Festival of Stamps stamp shows

The last of the special London 2010: Festival of Stamps regional stamp shows are coming up…

Cornex 2010 – Cornwall Stamp Show, 23 October 2010

Organised by Cornwall Philatelic Federation

Free Admission

Venue:

Liskeard School and Community College
Luxstowe
Liskeard
Cornwall
PL14 3EA

Features:

  • Annual competition and fair
  • Dealers stands (18 dealers expected)
  • Competitive and non-competitive displays
  • Collections valued

 

Postal map of Bolton, 1824, from the Royal Mail Archive (POST 21/111)

Postal map of Bolton, 1824, from the Royal Mail Archive (POST 21/111)

 

North Western Stamp Show, 30 October, 10am-5pm

Organised by North-Western Philatelic Federation

Free Admission

Venue:

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic High School and Sports College
Chorley New Road
Horwich
BL6 6HW

Features:

  • Dealers stands (16 dealers expected)
  • Competitive and non-competitive displays
  • Open competition voted for by the public for the BPMA Award

Find out about other London 2010: Festival of Stamps events at www.london2010.org.uk

Grandpa England – The Public and Private Life of George V 100 Years On

On 21 October PhD candidate Matthew Glencross, who is working in the Royal Archives on the role of monarchy in the early 20th Century, will speak at the BPMA about King George V. Matthew kindly sent us the following preview of his talk.

King George V

King George V

Grandpa England, the name which the young Princess Elizabeth affectionately called her elderly grandfather in her younger years, in many ways sums up the man. In a twenty five year reign George V looked over Great Britain and the British Empire with an almost paternal instinct as the 458 million people who looked to him as King/Emperor went through much change.

His accession saw the pinnacle of Imperial Pomp and ceremony with the Delhi Durbar in 1911, when he became the only British monarch to be crowned Emperor of India, whilst the closing years of his reign saw the Empire begin its transformation into the Commonwealth with the Statute of Westminster in 1931.

At home George saw women being given the vote in the UK for the first time as well as the establishment of the Irish Free State. He also welcomed in Britain’s first Labour government, which although reluctant at first, he would later confess to his diary that Ramsay Macdonald was his favourite Prime Minister.

However, his reign is arguably most famed for the bloodshed of the First World War to which he uttered this simple line to the troops in the frontline, “I cannot share your hardships, but my heart is with you every hour of the day.” A sentiment he supported with regular visits to the soldiers in the trenches.

Therefore, Grandpa England makes a fitting title to this talk which will sweep over the late King’s life from his younger days as a carefree Sailor Prince to his final years in the shadow of an approaching European conflict. A man who watched over Britain as she passed through some of the most difficult times of the early 20th century, one hundred years since his accession we remember him.

Booking details for Grandpa England can be found on our website.

Stamp Shows in Sussex and Hampshire

Philatelists in the South East of England have two stamp shows to choose from over the next two weekends…

The South of England Stamp Fair and Sussex Convention

9th October 2010, 10am to 4.30pm

Norfolk Pavilion
The South of England Centre
Ardingly
West Sussex
RH17 6TL

Presented by the Association of Sussex Philatelic Societies

Admission free

Free parking

The Association of Sussex Philatelic Societies’ annual exhibition and fair coincides with World Post Day. More than 30 dealers are expected and Cavendish Auctions are offering valuations. In addition there will be competitive and non-competitive displays (including an invited display by Pacific Islands Study Circle) and a meeting of the Pacific Islands Study Circle (1.30pm to 4.30pm).

Customers queue to use the Mobile Post Office which is situated in the grounds of an agricultural show in West Sussex, 1938.

Customers queue to use the Mobile Post Office which is situated in the grounds of an agricultural show in West Sussex, 1938.

Hampshire Stamp Show – HAMPEX 2010

16th October 2010, 10am to 4.30pm

Wickham Community Centre
Mill Lane
Wickham
Hampshire
PO17 5AL

Presented by Hampshire Philatelic Federation

Admission free

Free Parking

25 dealers are expected at this event, which will also feature competitive and non-competitive displays, valuations by Stanley Gibbons, a Junior Workshop, society meetings (including the British Society of Australian Philately) and a 36 frame exhibition The Development of the Posts in Hampshire to the Present Day.

Further details at www.hpf.hampshire.org.uk/hpfhpx.htm

Bertram Mackennal

As part of our continuing series of events on themes related to George V, the BPMA’s Curator of Philately Douglas Muir will give a free talk next month on the work of Bertram Mackennal. Mackennal was a noted sculptor who designed coins, stamps and medals during the reign of George V. Douglas Muir’s talk will include images from the Royal Philatelic Collection and the Royal Mint as well as the BPMA, together with examples of Mackennal’s work in sculpture.

The unpopular “Downey Head” (left), the frame of which was designed by Bertram Mackennal and G.W. Eve. George V disliked the three-quarter profile and the replacement “Profile Head” (right) was issued the following year. The “Profile Head” effigy of George V was designed by Mackennal and the frame by Eve.

The unpopular “Downey Head” (left), the frame of which was designed by Bertram Mackennal and G.W. Eve. George V disliked the three-quarter profile and the replacement “Profile Head” (right) was issued the following year. The “Profile Head” effigy of George V was designed by Mackennal and the frame by Eve.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1863, Edgar Bertram Mackennal received his early training in sculpture from his Scottish immigrant father John Simpson Mackennal and at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. At age 19 Mackennal left for Europe, where he undertook further study in London and Paris and began to be commissioned to produce reliefs, figures and busts.

Having completed a number of significant works in England, Australia and India, including statues of monarchs and other notable persons, Mackennal was commissioned to design the medals for the 1908 London Olympic Games. Two years later, when George V ascended the throne, Mackennal was commissioned to prepare an effigy of the King for coins and medals. The Post Office was also keen to employ Mackennal to work on the new definitive stamps, and although initially reluctant, Mackennal agreed.

The popular Seahorses design depicts Britannia being driven through the sea on a chariot pulled by three horses. In her hands are a trident and a shield bearing the Union Jack. Mackennal took inspiration from Greek and Roman depictions of chariot races for this design.

The popular Seahorses design depicts Britannia being driven through the sea on a chariot pulled by three horses. In her hands are a trident and a shield bearing the Union Jack. Mackennal took inspiration from Greek and Roman depictions of chariot races for this design.

Mackennal was involved in the design of all definitive stamp issues during the reign of George V, including the much-loved Seahorses design. Originally issued by the Post Office on 30th June 1913 this design was seen as revolutionary for its time, being the first British stamp to bear a pictorial illustration alongside the monarch’s head and the value. In many ways it can be said to be the pre-cursor to the first British commemorative stamp, issued to celebrate the opening of the British Empire Exhibition 11 years later.

Douglas Muir’s talk on Bertram Mackennal will take place on Thursday 7 October at the BPMA. Information on how to book can be found on our website. Tickets are free.

Douglas Muir’s book George V and the GPO: Stamps, Conflict & Creativity is available from the BPMA online shop.

Upcoming stamp shows in Edinburgh and Newcastle

Autumn Stampex isn’t the only stamp show taking place this month; for those in Scotland and the North of England member Federations of the Association of British Philatelic Societies have organised two shows as part of London 2010: Festival of Stamps.

Festival of Stamps & Postcards in Edinburgh & Lothians

Organised by the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies – Edinburgh Group, the show takes place this Saturday afternoon at St John’s Church Hall, 140 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ. There will be displays from Edinburgh Philatelic Society, Edinburgh Stamp Group, Lothian Postcard Club and the Scottish Philatelic Society, stamps and postcards for sale, and experts on hand to give advice.

A postman delivers mail at Holyrood House, Edinburgh, 1934.

A postman delivers mail at Holyrood House, Edinburgh, 1934.

Nephilex 2010

Organised by the North-East of England Philatelic Federation this show will take place on Saturday 25 September at The Royal Station Hotel, Neville Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 5DH. Highlights include dealers stands, competitive and non-competitive displays, activities for young people and those wishing to start a collection, valuations and society meetings. Other events, will take place between 5pm on 24 September and 1pm on 26 September, including the awards dinner on Saturday night. The full programme is available from www.nephilex2010.org.uk.

Autumn Stampex 2010

 by Jennifer Flippance, 2010 Exhibitions & Project Manager

Stampex at the Business Design Centre

Stampex at the Business Design Centre

If your interest in stamps and postal history has been piqued by our blog posts or any the events that have taken place this year as part of the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, why not go along to Stampex next week.

Stampex takes place twice a year at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. It’s free and 2010 Autumn Stampex is on 15-18th September.

There are many dealers’ stands, including a substantial presence from Royal Mail. Get the new stamps (Medical Breakthroughs) from their first day of issue on Thursday and from Friday you can get brand new pictorial Post & Go stamps. Don’t miss the instant Smiler booth.

I like to stock up on attractive commemorative stamps I’ve missed during the year to use on my own post. It’s always much nicer for someone to receive a special stamp.

Competitive stamp displays at Stampex

Competitive stamp displays at Stampex

Everyone who attends Stampex gets a free postcard and the opportunity to buy other special products only available at the show. There are also displays from the National Competitions of the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

The BPMA Friends will be manning a stand as usual. Pop over to say hello and pick up the brand new free 2010 postcard featuring George V. We’ll also have a selection of our postal themed products on sale, including the popular new Post Offices book by Julian Stray.

Kids auction at Stampex

Kids auction

One of my favourite parts is the children’s auction on Saturday, which is always great fun to watch. Any young philatelists who come along get the chance to collect points by doing activities and these can then be spent at the auction on stamps. There’s always a lot of tactical bidding!

For more details including directions and opening times see – http://www.stampex.ltd.uk/

5th Festival of Stamps postcard now available

A fifth postcard is now available in the popular series promoting the London 2010: Festival of Stamps. This postcard looks at the stamps produced for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

The postcard features a photographic portrait of George V by Vandyk, alongside essays from 1934 that used this image at two different sizes. It also features an essay with an alternative portrait by Bertram Mackennal, which was much preferred by George V. It was this design that was eventually chosen by the King for the issued stamp.

The fifth London 2010: Festival of Stamps postcard, featuring stamps produced for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

The fifth London 2010: Festival of Stamps postcard, featuring stamps produced for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

The stamp was designed by Barnett Freedman, the 33-year old son of Jewish-Russian political refugees. He had grown up in the East End of London, starting work at the age of 15 as a draughtsman to a monumental mason. He studied art at night school and in 1922 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. As well as the stamps, he produced several posters and other illustrations for the GPO.

Freedman wrote of his design for the Silver Jubilee stamps;

The fundamental idea in designing the Silver Jubilee Commemoration Postage Stamp, was firstly, to obtain an effect of dignity and simplicity:- that the design and the lettering should be clear and legible, so as to give at once the function of the new issue, and that the complete stamp should be essentially classical in character.

Secondly, I have used only the very simplest forms of symbolism, the main themes being the Laurel Leaves and the Olive Branches, the Laurel for Triumph and Reward, and the Olive branch for Peace and Goodwill.

The Royal Crown is depicted in each of the four denominations but the Laurel and Olive branches have been interchanged in various forms, with the addition of the Oakleaf and acorn (symbolical of strength and stability) so that with the difference of each denomination-colour, there is also a subtle change of design, without alteration to the fundamental character of the stamp.

Many of the rejected designs by other artists for a George V Silver Jubilee stamp can be seen on our online catalogue.

The new postcard will be sent out this week free with the BPMA Newsletter to subscribers. It can also be obtained from the BPMA Search Room (Freeling House) and will be available at Autumn Stampex (15-18 September) from the Friends of the BPMA stand.

Limited edition complete sets of London 2010 postcards will be available for purchase later in the year.

BPMA Curator of Philately Douglas Muir will be speaking on the stamp, medal and coinage designs of Bertram Mackennal at the BPMA on 7 October 2010. See our website for details.

Upcoming stamp shows in Amersham and Croydon

Over the next two weekends there will be two further special stamps shows organised by member Federations of the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

Middlesex Diamond Jubilee Stamp Show organised by the Middlesex Philatelic Federation takes place on Saturday 4th September at Amersham Community Centre. As well as dealers and displays there will be activities for young people, including hands-on activities, competitions and puzzles.

Surrey Stamp Show organised by the Federation of Surrey Philatelic Societies will take place at the United Reformed Church Hall, Croydon, on Saturday 11th September. There will be dealers and competitive and non-competitive displays.

Admission to both shows is free.

Streamline airmail van beside an Imperial Airways plane at Croydon Airport

Croydon was once home to a major airport, which was a key hub in the early days of airmail. This photo from 1935 shows a Streamline airmail van beside an Imperial Airways plane at Croydon Airport.

There are many more special stamp shows to come, with one taking place every weekend between now and the end of October. Find the full list on www.london2010.org.uk.

A weekend at Bletchley

Several BPMA staff and Friends had a very enjoyable two days at Bletchley Park over the Bank Holiday weekend.  We were there as part of the Post Office at War weekend, an event organised as part of the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.

BPMA Friend Richard West and Exhibitions Officer Alison Norris staff the BPMA table

BPMA Friend Richard West and Exhibitions Officer Alison Norris staff the BPMA table

The BPMA had a table where we could meet visitors to Bletchley Park and let them know about the BPMA and its collections. Several of the BPMA Friends made a much valued contribution, helping to promote us and sharing their personal expertise on a number of different topics with visitors. 

They also helped us sell a variety of BPMA products, including books and postcards.  The new Shire Post Offices book by our curator, Julian Stray, was particularly sought after, selling out on the second day.

Some of the creative designs for stamps

Some of the creative designs for stamps

Our activities for younger visitors proved very popular, particularly designing your own stamp and making secret codes.

Curator Vyki Sparkes gave a well received talk about the vital and difficult work of the GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad during the Second World War.  They salvage squad had the responsibility of rescuing mail from pillar boxes that had been damaged or buried by enemy air raids.

Visitors enjoying the BPMA display

Visitors enjoying the BPMA display

It was standing room only in the cinema at Bletchley Park where films were being shown from our third collection of GPO films – If War Should Come.  We also took a graphic display of ten panels illustrating the essential work of the GPO on the home front during the Second World War.

1940s postman, complete with authentic bicycle

1940s postman, complete with authentic bicycle

There was much else going on during the weekend including tours, WW2 re-enactors, several other talks (including Christine Earle’s ‘The Post Office Went to War’) some rarely seen items from the Royal Philatelic Collection and other children’s activities, including letter writing and games with a former evacuee.

Bletchley Park is well worth a visit and your ticket allows admission for a whole year.

The ‘Rescue Man’ and the ‘Danger Squad’: Frederick G. Gurr and the GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad

This coming Bank Holiday Monday, Vyki Sparkes, Assistant Curator at the BPMA will give a short talk at Bletchley Park on a little known story of heroism and bravery: Frederick G. Gurr and the GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad. The talk is one of many activities taking place at Bletchley Park as part of the Post Office at War weekend.

During the Blitz in the Second World War the Salvage Squad were featured in newspapers, a radio broadcast, and Gurr, their overseer, was awarded the British Empire Medal by King George VI for his heroism. Despite these accolades, this small but important group fell into obscurity – until the recent discovery of a collection of scrapbooks and photographs in our museum collection.

A newspaper article in Gurr's scrapbook about the Salvage Squad meeting George VI

A newspaper article in Gurr's scrapbook about the Salvage Squad meeting George VI

Delayed by Enemy Action handstamp impression

Delayed by Enemy Action handstamp impression

Correspondence was of crucial importance during the Second World War, not only for military or governmental purposes but to maintain social morale. During the War, the Post Office’s intention was that no letter should be delayed more than 48 hours due to enemy action.

From 1940 with the continuous heavy bombardment of London, as well as other parts of the UK, this aim became even more challenging. Frederick G. Gurr, a postman close to retirement in the City of London, was concerned that ordinary Salvage squads did not recognise the importance of the mail, and set up the GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad. Their purpose: to rescue the mail, money and supplies from Post Offices and letterboxes bombed in the City of London. Gurr kept newspaper cuttings and photographs relating to the squad in a homemade scrapbook, all carefully annotated with his own handwritten accounts.

A newspaper article in the scrapbook showing how Gurr's team rescued £40,000 from a safe

A newspaper article in the scrapbook showing how Gurr's team rescued £40,000 from a safe

The talk at Bletchley Park will feature key moments of the 1940-41 Blitz, told through the pages of this scrapbook and accompanying photographs. All are welcome, and the talk is free, to those who have a valid entry ticket to Bletchley Park.

For those who cannot make it to the Bletchley event, Gurr’s wartime scrapbook is currently on display in the Treasures of the Archive exhibition, in our Search Room.