Tag Archives: Crewe Heritage Centre

Crewe Heritage Centre railway stamps exhibition opens

Some of the exhibits

Some of the exhibits

As part of London 2010: Festival of Stamps, an exhibition of railway stamps and postcards has been mounted at Crewe Heritage Centre. The exhibition was organised jointly by North West Society of Philatelic Societies and Crewe Heritage Centre

The opening of the exhibition took place on Saturday 12th June 2010 at the Centre before a small crowd of local people, including some of the exhibitors. Paul Gaywood, past chairman of the Federation introduced the speakers. The first was the Mayor of Cheshire East Council Councillor Gordon Baxendale who welcomed everyone to Crewe. He had also brought with him the Mayoress Felicity Baxendale.

Speakers at the opening

Speakers at the opening

The official opening was then carried out by Professor Brian Goodey who is the Chairman of Trustees at The British Postal Museum & Archive.

Also present was Keith Johnson as representative of Sandafayre, one of the worlds largest mail stamp auctioneers who are based in Knutsford. They have sponsored the exhibition.

Others included Adrian Jones Secretary of the Federation, Mike Lenz of Crewe Heritage Centre and Philip Longbottom, Crewe Philatelic Society’s President.

The exhibitors are:

London & North West Railway
Pamlin cards
Wuppertal Overhead Railway
Loco Publishing Co
Cape Railways
– Tony Goodbody

Welsh Railways
– Paul Gaywood

The West Coast Route to Edinburgh
The East Coast Route to Edinburgh
Other Routes to Edinburgh and Edinburgh Railway companies
King Edward 8th – the 1921/2 and 1925 Royal Tour Trains
– Stephen Parkin 

Flying Scotsman
– Alan Rigby 

American Railways
– Alan Randall Jones 

North British Railway
– John Parkin

Giraffes
– Peter Kirk

Tennyson
– Keith Johnson

Space
– Godfrey Mellor

Olympics
– John Crowther

Cricket
– Peter Kirk

Pirates
– David Hope

Current railway material for sale
– Sandafayre 

The exhibition will be open until October, and open days can be found on the Crewe Heritage Centre website or by phoning 01270 212130.

The Travelling Post Office

Travelling Post Offices (or TPOs) were railway carriages specially adapted for Post Office workers to sort mail in whilst it was being carried to its destination. They were introduced in 1838, a mere eight years after the first public railway (which ran between Liverpool to Manchester) was opened and proved to be a faster and more efficient method of delivering mail than Mail Coaches.

The layout of TPOs evolved very early on, driven by the unique nature of the work involved. The sorting frames were normally on the right looking towards the engine with a well table (sunken recess to hold mail) below for emptying mailbags into. Opposite this were metal pegs with destination bag labels attached in readiness to hang mail bags for sorted mail.

Early TPOs were quite primitive in their facilities with oil lighting, low, flat roofs and no heating or toilets! In the 1860s, gradual improvements were made as ventilators and better lights were installed and arched roofs introduced along with floor matting, padding and seats.

The TPO service ran until early 2004. It had been in a gradual decline since World War 2, with Dr Beeching’s 1963 report on the railways having a particular impact on the service. Transport technology was changing too, with it becoming more economical to move mail by road or air. Problems with service level agreements and concern for the health and safety of staff were the final nails in the coffin.

In 1999 the BPMA purchased a TPO dating from 1908, which was restored at the London & North West Railway (LNWR) workshop at Crewe. It is on display at The Crewe Heritage Centre, which is open on weekends and bank holidays from Easter to the last weekend in September.

The BPMAs TPO: before restoration.

The BPMA's TPO: before restoration.

The BPMAs TPO: after restoration

The BPMA's TPO: after restoration

For more information on TPOs please see our Online Exhibition The Travelling Post Office.