Post People from the Past with St Luke’s primary school

Last term we worked in partnership with St Luke’s Primary school in Islington and Big Wheel Theatre Company to deliver an exciting literacy focused project.

Post People from the Past took a class of Year 2 students back in time to discover how letters were carried, posted and delivered through 400 years of postal history.

In week one the class met Albert, a letter carrier from the 1700s. The children learnt about the problems with the postal service at this time – there were no stamps, letters cost a lot to send and it was the recipient not the sender who paid for the letter. The students took part in different tasks to help Albert collect and deliver letters. Look at the photo below. Do you think they were up to the job?

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Next, the students met Fred, a Victorian postman who told them about Rowland Hill and the important changes he proposed for the post office. The students entered the competition to design the world’s first pre-paid postage stamp that Rowland Hill organised in the 1830s – the iconic Penny Black was the winner.

They took a whistle stop tour of the new transport the Victorians invented to move the mail. Here they are pretending to ride a pneumatic train.

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In the last classroom workshop, the students met Edith, a First World War post woman. Edith recruited the students to work with her in the Home Depot in Regent’s Park where all letters between the home and fighting fronts were sorted in the war. She explained the importance of censorship and as part of their training the students read and create their own secret coded messages.

Over 12 million letters were sent a day in the First World War. No wonder the post bags were so big!

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For their final workshop the students visited our museum store in Debden to explore our treasure trove of postal objects and discover more stories from our collection.

The students met modern day postman Roland who asked for their help to deliver letters to the past. Working in teams, this activity put what they’d found out so far into historical context.

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You can see more photos of their visit to the museum store on our Flickr stream.

Post People from the Past brought hidden stories from our collection to life in the classroom. The project is part of our work to trial a programme of workshops and activities for schools to be delivered in The Postal Museum.

To find out how your school can get involved in our free trial programme or to book a visit please email Sally, our Learning Officer, sally.sculthorpe@postalheritage.org.uk

– Sally Sculthorpe, Learning Officer

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