by Terry Carney, BPMA Volunteer
Although I have been interested in Military badges for many years it was only a few years ago after being given a small collection of GPO and Royal Mail badges that I became interested in this subject. In an attempt to find out more about the badges worn with GPO uniforms, I decided to visit the British Postal Museum and Archive. Unfortunately the items I was interested in seeing are not on show at present. However there is an album of photographs which show many of the BPMA collection of badges enlarged, available to anyone wishing to do their own research. Using the research facilities I found several lists and documents referring to a large number of metal and embroidered badges worn by Postmen and Postwomen over the years.
Since then I have been making a list of as many of these items as possible, with the intention of adding illustrations to the list. One of the documents that I found most useful was the Pattern Register for the period 1948-1966, which lists most of the badges worn at the time. Each badge being given its own pattern number, many of the entries contain a brief description and details regarding who the badges were intended for, however some entries carry little or no information and require further research.
I was very fortunate in being given the opportunity of becoming a volunteer at the archives and helping staff catalogue some of the badges in the BPMA collection. While working with the badges I came across some with labels which had been attached many years ago giving details which had not been included in the pattern register enabling some of the gaps to be filled in. Apart from making badges for their own employees the GPO were also responsible for having badges made for other organisations through their suppliers. I am hoping to complete my list shortly and will be supplying a copy for the BPMA. I am sure amongst readers that there will be several including former GPO staff, who are knowledgeable on this subject who will be able to add further information and any corrections that are necessary.
To find out more about volunteering at the BPMA please see our website.