Royal Mail is celebrating the lives and work of ten prominent Britons with a new set of stamps launched today. The Britons of Distinction stamps celebrate ten distinguished individuals from the realms of science and technology, architecture, politics and the arts who have all made a major contribution to British society.
The ten 1st Class stamps feature a mixture of portraits and images of these individuals and their achievements.
1st Class – Sir Basil Spence – architect of Coventry Cathedral
Knighted for services to architecture, particularly his designs for the new Coventry Cathedral, opened in 1962, after the original was bombed. The image shows Coventry Cathedral.
1st Class – Frederick Delius – opera, choral and orchestral composer
Yorkshire-born composer of choral and orchestral works. Born in 1862 and most renowned for music evoking a timeless English pastoral idyll. Delius’ The First Cuckoo was commemorated on a stamp in 1985 (pictured right).
1st Class – Mary ‘May’ Morris – designer and textile artist
Textile artist and designer celebrated for her embroidery; daughter of the artist and thinker William Morris (whose work was featured on stamps last year). The image shows Orange Tree, designed and embroidered by May Morris.
1st Class – Odette Hallowes – SOE agent in occupied France
French-born British secret agent in wartime France, who survived solitary confinement in German concentration camps.
1st Class – Thomas Newcomen – inventor of the atmospheric steam engine
Devon ironmonger, engineer and inventor of the atmospheric steam engine, which helped power the Industrial Revolution. His first working engine was installed at a coalmine near Dudley Castle in Staffordshire in 1712.
1st Class – Kathleen Ferrier – contralto performer of opera and song
Lancashire-born contralto whose international opera and song career was prematurely ended by her death from cancer. Ferrier worked for the GPO as a telephonist on two occasions, and you can view her nomination papers for 1930 and 1934 on the Ancestry website.
1st Class – Augustus Pugin – Gothic revival architect and designer
Architect, designer and advocate of the Gothic style whose commissions included the interiors of the Palace of Westminster. The stamp shows Pugin’s interior of the Palace of Westminster.
1st Class – Montague Rhodes James – scholar and author of ghost stories
Cambridge academic and author of chilling ghost stories, originally written as entertainments for his friends.
1st Class – Alan Turing – mathematician and code breaker
Mathematician and computer scientist, whose work with the code breakers at Bletchley Park helped to speed up the end of the Second World War. The stamp shows Turing’s Bombe code breaking machine at Bletchley Park. Turing previously featured on a stamp in 1999 (pictured right).
1st Class – Joan Mary Fry – Quaker relief worker and social reformer
Quaker campaigner for pacifism and social reform, who organised food relief in Germany after the First World War, and then in Wales
Two different pictorial first day of issue postmarks are available.
Stamps and stamp products are available at all Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/stamps, the Royal Mail eBay shop and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.