A new set of stamps issued today celebrates much-loved TV characters from the past 60 years. Each decade since the 1950s is represented in this issue including Postman Pat, Dougal from The Magic Roundabout and Postman Pat, among other beloved characters from the past.
2014 marks both the 40th anniversary of Bagpuss appearing on TV and the 50th anniversary of The Magic Roundabout. As the first stamps issued in 2014, they will attract audiences of all ages.
Peppa Pig, 1st class.
Paddington Bear, 1st class.
Mr Benn, 1st class.
Dougal from The Magical Roundabout, 1st class.
Ivor the Engine, 1st class.
Windy Miller from Camberwick Green, 1st class.
Bob the Builder, 1st class.
Bagpuss, 1st class.
Andy Pandy, 1st class.
Great Uncle Bulgaria from The Wombles, 1st class.
Shaun the Sheep, 1st class.
Postman Pat, 1st class.
Postman Pat has been a popular children’s TV series since the first episode in 1981. Royal Mail were keen to use Pat as a publicity tool for Post Office services and the programme promoted the idea of the Postman as an essential community figure.
Plastic Postman Pat shape sorter van.
The BPMA collection has a variety of Postman Pat related objects, ranging from original Postman Pat artwork for the comic Buttons Special through to clothing and toys, such as the wind-up Postman Pat.
Postman Pat wind-up walking toy.
The Classic Children’s TV stamps can be ordered through the royalmail.com/childrenstv and by phone on 08457 641 641. They are also available in Post Office Branches across the UK.
by Emma Harper, Cataloguer (Collections)
In my last blog there was a picture of a letter box with Mickey Mouse on it. This is just one of many items in the Wilkinson Collection that has images of characters from popular culture on it. Some of these have specifically postal links, the most obvious being Postman Pat, others are there because the objects are primarily directed at children. It may be that you collected objects with Disney characters on, or were a fan of Danger Mouse when you were younger, or still do now! I know I was particularly excited when I found a money box tin in the shape of the old Police public call boxes only to find that it was in fact a model Tardis with none other than Tom Baker as Doctor Who on the front, complete with his iconic long stripey scarf, something that brought back memories of my own childhood. There are many items like these in the Wilkinson Collection.
Danger Mouse Talc Container
After Postman Pat, the most postally relevant popular character to appear in the Wilkinson Collection is Danger Mouse and his side-kick, Penfold, named after the designer of one of Britain’s best loved pillar box. Despite the name Penfold, the pair actually lived in an Anonymous pillar box and it is this that ensured their inclusion in the collection. One of the items that features the pair is a model plastic letter box which was also a bubble bath container. Another is a container for talcum powder (left) which shows Penfold holding onto a rope inside the letter box with Danger Mouse standing next to him. That a programme such as Danger Mouse can use a letter box as the hero’s home shows how instantly recognisable letter boxes are and makes an everyday object part of another world.
Some of the model letter boxes in the collection are also musical boxes. One of these shows the dog ‘Dougal’ from the television series ‘The Magic Roundabout’. However, this object also has a more serious message as on the back is a decimal currency conversion chart complete with pictures of the new coins. This is another common theme used on model letter boxes made in the late 1960s and early 1970s, – the period when Britain changed from an imperial to a decimal currency – and shows how important an issue it was. Indeed, the post office itself was involved in organising aspects of the change-over.
Ian Wilkinson also collected model post vehicles (pictured below), one of which shows a US mail car being driven by the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip character Snoopy. The car has paw prints on it and ‘SNOOPY/ US MAIL’ is inscribed on the sides. Maybe seeing their favourite cartoon character drive a mail car inspired some children to work as a postman/ woman when they were older, I’m sure Postman Pat must be responsible for a few recruits! Other popular characters that appear throughout the collection are Paddington Bear, Felix the cat and Spot the dog. There is also a tin depicting Coronation Street, which includes a letter box!
A group of vehicles from the Wilkinson Collection, including a US mail car with Snoopy
I had a lot of fun cataloguing these items as not only were they things I had enjoyed as a child, but they were also not what I had expected to find in the collection. This highlights how diverse and unusual collections can become. If you recognise any of the objects mentioned here, or have similar ones do please respond with your own memories!
Posted in Collection, Wilkinson Collection
Tagged Anonymous pillar box, Coronation Street, Danger Mouse, Disney, Doctor Who, Dougal, Felix the Cat, Ian Wilkinson, letter box, mail van, Mickey Mouse, Paddington Bear, Peanuts, Penfold, pillar box, Postman Pat, Snoopy, Spot the Dog, Tardis, The Magic Roundabout, Tom Baker, US Mail, Wilkinson Collection