Tag Archives: Artsite

Picture Post on tour

The Picture Post project is now drawing to a close, and to make sure as many people know about what we got up to as possible, the BPMA has sent two displays travelling around Swindon and London.

The display in the entrance to Holborn Library, London.

The display in the entrance to Holborn Library, London.

To produce these eye-catching panels we worked with design agency Cai and Kyn, who are based in South London. They also designed the leaflet that accompanies the travelling display.

In the first panel you can find out about the BPMA and its diverse collections, whilst the second panel introduces our photography collection, and shows some wonderful examples of photographs from our POST 118 collection, as well as posters that use these PR photographs.

Postmen leaving a sorting office, 1896. (POST 118/5083)

Postmen leaving a sorting office, 1896. (POST 118/5083)

Post office lines of communication, c. 1950. Designed by Frederic Henri Kay Henrion. (POST 109/208)

Post office lines of communication, c. 1950. Designed by Frederic Henri Kay Henrion. (POST 109/208)

The third panel showcases some of the brilliant responses we had to the photographs at the sessions run at Holborn Community Centre in London, and with Artsite in Swindon. You can read more about these in previous blogs.

Collage produced during Picture Post in Swindon.

Collage produced during Picture Post in Swindon.

Collage produced during Picture Post in Swindon.

Collage produced during Picture Post in Swindon.

So far the displays have already been to Holborn and Highgate Libraries in London, and the Central Library and The Platform Youth Centre in Swindon.

Two visitors find out more about Picture Post at The Platform, Swindon.

Two visitors find out more about Picture Post at The Platform, Swindon.

At The Platform, the families who took part in the Swindon side of the project got to see their work on display during a day celebrating their achievements.

Participants in Picture Post Swindon pose in front of the display.

Participants in Picture Post Swindon pose in front of the display.

 The participants from London will do the same on 25t February 2011, when they gather at Holborn Community Association’s Bedford House for their Celebration Day.

Archive photos and more images from the project can be viewed on Flickr

Picture Post in Swindon

The Picture Post project has moved to Swindon! On Saturday 6th November, Andy from the BPMA travelled west to introduce the project to participating families from the Swindon area.

The Platform Youth Centre was the venue for the morning, and our base was an old First Class train carriage. The building used to house the railway museum, prior to their move across the tracks to become STEAM.

An old First Class train carriage, now the Platform Youth Centre

An old First Class train carriage, now the Platform Youth Centre

Seats were very nearly fully-booked for the session, as around 15 people crammed into the carriage, and listened to Andy talk about the BPMA, our collections, and the photographs from the Royal Mail Archive that are the focus of the Picture Post project.

First up, Andy asked some eager volunteers to dress up as post people from the past, using a variety of uniforms from the BPMA Handling Collection.

Imogen, sporting a peaked postman’s cap from the GPO era

Imogen, sporting a peaked postman’s cap from the GPO era

Andy went on to talk about some of the more unexpected items we have in the BPMA collection, including blunderbusses and cutlasses, and then handed out just a few examples of the thousands of photos we have that show the work of the Post Office during the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s.

Each person picked a favourite photo and thought about why they liked it. Esina was taken by this image of Chailey Post Office, particularly the familiar logo of Cadburys in the window.

Exterior view of Chailey Post Office, with a telephone box situated alongside, 1937

Exterior view of Chailey Post Office, with a telephone box situated alongside, 1937

Sheena, Sally and (the other) Andy from Artsite then took over the session, and asked the group to make collages using photocopies of the Archive images and a pile of other materials, including old stamps, elegant ink-pen script, stickers, patterned paper, and feathers.

Inside the train carriage, the group cutting and pasting.

Inside the train carriage, the group cutting and pasting.

Girls working on collages.

Girls working on collages.

Some of the marvellous works produced by the Picture Post-ers can be seen below, and the rest can be seen on Flickr.

Carinae's collage

Carinae's collage

Moesha's collage

Moesha's collage

Simone's collage

Simone's collage

Last Saturday, the group took a guided tour of the Swindon Mail Centre, and were taught to think like a photographer by the guys from Artsite. Some of the photos they took, of sorting machines, vehicles and postal workers, are now on Flickr. They will also be turned into postcards.

For more information about the work that Sheena, Sally and Andy do in providing a hub for the Swindon community to engage in, understand and appreciate contemporary art and culture, please visit the Artsite website, or visit the Post Modern Gallery (a converted Post Office) in Theatre Square, Swindon.

Picture Post

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is proud to present Picture Post, an innovative community outreach project run in collaboration with Holborn Community Association, London, and Artsite Ltd, Swindon.

Family groups in both regions will work with artists and photographers to produce artistic responses to fascinating photographs from the BPMA collections.

During the 1930s-40s, the General Post Office (GPO) began using photography to support their newly established public relations activities. These promotional images were used in the Post Office magazine and on posters, travelling exhibitions and displays promoting the GPO.

Postman delivering mail to Kent hop farm, 1935 (POST 118/467)

Postman delivering mail to Kent hop farm, 1935 (POST 118/467)

The photographs show sorting clerks busy at work, fleets of motor vehicles, historic letter boxes, notable GPO buildings, engineers, travelling post offices and, of course, postmen and women delivering letters across Britain – from blitz-torn London to remote lighthouses.

In August 2010, the BPMA was one of four nationally important collections to benefit from the Designation Development Fund, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) council. The BPMA received £40,000 from the fund to improve conservation of the photographs, as well as access and understanding of its collections.

Picture Post was developed to increase access to the photography collection, and enable different groups to learn more about them, and postal history in general.

The London sessions are led by the BPMA in collaboration with staff and families from the Holborn Community Association and photographer Dan Salter. So far, these have involved using the museum handling collection of uniforms to recreate favourite photographs, and arts and crafts activities using photos for inspiration.

Choosing favourite photos

Choosing favourite photos

Charlie interpreting his favourite photo

Charlie interpreting his favourite photo

Rahim models postman's uniform

Rahim models postman's uniform

Dan setting up Charlie as Moses Nobbs the mail coach man

Dan setting up Charlie as Moses Nobbs the mail coach man

The artistic responses created by the families in the sessions will form part of a new travelling display, which will tour community spaces in London and Swindon during 2011.

Archive photos and images from the project can be viewed on Flickr