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
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
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
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
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.
Posted in Events, London 2010
Tagged Bletchley Park, Christine Earle, Friends of the BPMA, GPO film unit, GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad, home front, If War Should Come, London 2010: Festival of Stamps, Post Office, Royal Philatelic Collection, stamp design, World War 2, WW2
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend the 2010: Festival of Stamps will be celebrating the Post Office at War event at Bletchley Park.
Taking place on Sunday 29 & Monday 30 August, the two days will remember the role of the Post Office during World War Two and the importance of stamps in our history.
As well as running children’s’ activities on code breaking, designing your own stamp, and writing an airgraph, the BPMA will be taking our exhibition The GPO and the Home Front. The exhibition explores the impact World War Two had on the largest employer in Britain, when a third of its staff joined active service. It also looks at the role that GPO staff played in preserving normal functioning on the home front, helping to promote the domestic war effort and support military operations. Ensuring mail got to troops was also an integral part of the war effort, helping to keep up morale.
Bletchley Park Mansion
A series of talks over the weekend will include BPMA Assistant Curator Vyki Sparkes, who will be discussing the little known GPO Rescue and Salvage Squad, using unique research from the Royal Mail Archive.
The Enigma Cinema will be showing BPMA films from our GPO Film collection If War Should Come. The 18 films in this collection provide a fascinating and poignant insight into a nation on the cusp of war and its transition to the brutal realities of life in the Blitz.
Elsewhere at Bletchley, the Post Office Vehicle Club will be putting on a display of vehicles used by the Post Office during the war. Also on display will be a vast collection of historic stamps, representing all aspects of life.
Bletchley Park Post Office
Further children’s activities around the site will include learning what it was like to write home as a wartime evacuee, and re-enactors will show how people lived during the war. There will also be a rare opportunity to see a stunning display of World War Two airpower with a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast featuring a Hurricane and a Spitfire.
We hope you can join us for what promises to be an exciting weekend!
For more information and how to get there, please visit the Bletchley Park website.
Posted in Events, London 2010
Tagged airgraph, Battle of Britain, Bletchley Park, GPO, GPO film unit, home front, If War Should Come, Post Office, Post Office vehicles, stamps, The Blitz, World War 2, WW2