Badges of the GPO

by Terry Carney, BPMA Volunteer 

Some of the many badges worn by GPO and Royal Mail employees over the years

Some of the many badges worn by GPO and Royal Mail employees over the years

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.

20 responses to “Badges of the GPO

  1. Terry Carney

    I have now handed over a copy of the illustrated list on GPO badges which I made to the BPMA. For any reader who is interested in this subject especially collectors this can be used as a guide to many of the badges worn by GPO staff over the years. I would also like to ask those who can add information, or illustrations to help improve this list.

  2. I have dug up a GPO metal ‘script’ badge (bottom row, middle, of your photo) can you tell me the dates it was in use?

    • Terry Carney

      Dear Sir, regarding the GPO badge you have dug up, the brass letters forming the GPO monogram, was probably worn over a longer period of time than any other GPO badge it was used as a cap badge on the first shako hat introd uced in 1862, and remained in use as a cap or collar badge for various grades of Postmen and Postwomen until the pattern number was unsealed on the 12th February 1965 having been used for over 100 years. During the period 1948-1966 the Pattern Number for this badge was GPO 245. A copy of the list I made illustrationg many of the GPO badges is now held at the BPMA. and shows this badge . Yours sincerely Terry Carney.

  3. Nick Warren

    Hi Terry, Thank you for the information. If I find the rest of the Postman I will let you know! Regards Nick

  4. I too have dug up a brass(?) badge, similar to the top middle in the photo, but instead of the number it has the script GPO in the middle of it. The circles are slightly different, looking like twisted braiding.
    Nearby was a button, plain flat metal with the backstamp of Silvesters, Birmingham. I wondered if this also belonged to the postie and if I was going to find the rest of him!
    Any idea of date?

  5. Terry Carney

    Hi Jo, the large circular badge you mention was fixed to an arm band, those with the words, Post Office above Postman with the brass GPO monogram in the centre were worn by Provincial Postmen, those with the area code letters and Postmans number were worn by London Postmen, they were of the type being issued in 1910.

  6. have brass badge,circular,about 3 1/2 inches at top,number across centre and the word “driver” across the bottom. found 30 odd years ago in woods in surrey. any idea what it might be?

  7. Terry Carney

    Hi Rikki, This is not a badge that I have come across while researching the GPO badges or seen any mention of. I would like to see a photograph of the badge to see if it is a variation of any of the many different types that I have seen so far. Could you please send a photograph of your badge to the BPMA which might enable it to be identified. Yours sincerely Terry.

  8. Rikki, please e-mail your picture to and we’ll pass it on to Terry.

  9. Terry Carney

    Hi Rikki, thanks for sending in the photograph of your badge. I do not think it is a GPO badge, howevever it is very interesting, I have never seen one like this before. I do know several badge dealers and it is possible that one of them may be able to say who the badge would have been worn by. The crown on the badge looks like the type worn on some Victorian badges. Yours sincerely Terry.

  10. Can anyone tell me the names (and dates thereof) that were used by ‘Canada Post’ before it became Canada Post? Also, does anyone know of a good site to research the history of Canada Post? Many thanks tony

  11. Does anybody know any websites etc of people buying the GPO badges we have found a few in the attic.

  12. superlonghurst

    Does anyone know who manufactured the last metal name badged for Royal Mail? I believe they were phased out around 2004 and replaced with cheapo plastic ones. I only ask as I wouldn’t mind replacing my metal ones off my own back, I lost one sadly and my other was on my Harrington that someone pinched 😦

  13. Hi the list that you have compiled of gpo badges … Is this available as my dad has started collecting them and would like to be able to identify each.

    Would be very grateful if anyone can help

    Thank you


  14. Colin Sinnott

    Hi Please can you tell me how do i view the list you have compiled

    Thank you

  15. We’ve uploaded Terry’s list of badges to our website. Download it as a PDF via

  16. Hi,
    I have looked at the above mentioned site to find the pdf document on GPO badges, but I get a dead link. Is this pdf still available as I have started a collection of Post Office badges and would like to find information to identify periods worn.


  17. Hi,

    I’ve found a square, brass badge with GPO at the top, 22 in the middle, and BRH at the bottom. On the reverse it says “Reward of 1′ will be given to the finder of this badge on handing it in at the nearest Post Office”. Really keen to find out more!

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