Recently we welcomed the author Andrew Cook to the BPMA to speak about The Great Train Robbery, one of the most infamous crimes in British history. On 8th August 1963, £2.6 million (equivalent to over £45 million today) was stolen from a Royal Mail Travelling Post Office. The bulk of the money has never been recovered, and there has not been a single year since 1963 when one aspect of the crime or its participants has not been featured in the media.
The carriage following the robbery. © Thames Valley Police
But despite the wealth and extent of this coverage, a host of questions have remained unanswered: Who was behind the robbery? Was it an inside job? And who got away with the crime of the century? Fifty years of selective falsehood and fantasy has obscured the reality of the story behind the robbery. The fact that a considerable number of the original investigation and prosecution files on those involved and alleged to have been involved were closed, in many cases until 2045, has only served to muddy the waters still further.
When researching his book, The Great Train Robbery – the untold story of the closed investigation files, Andrew Cook spent a lot of time at the Royal Mail Archive, which holds extensive material about the robbery. In his talk at the BPMA Andrew explained how he did the research and what he found. A recording of this talk is now available as a podcast, which is free to listen to or download from our website, iTunes and SoundCloud.
Our exhibition The Great Train Robbery, the aftermath and the Investigations: A Story from the Archive is currently on a national tour, or viewable online at the Google Cultural Institute.
Posted in Archive, Events, Podcast
Tagged Andrew Cook, crime, free download, Google Cultural Institute, Great Train Robbery, Podcast, railway, railways, robbery, Ronnie Biggs, Royal Mail Archive, the aftermath and the investigations: a story from the Archive, The Great Train Robbery, The Great Train Robbery - the untold story of the closed investigation files, theft, train, trains, Travelling Post Ofice
Chris West the author of First Class, a History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps gave a fascinating talk here at the BPMA in February which is now available to download for free as a podcast.
Drawing on his book, Chris showed how stamps reflected our history and vice-versa. The abdication of Edward VIII and the Thatcher era are just two of the subjects covered.
First Class: A history of Britain in 36 postage stamps by Chris West (cover)
The British Postal Museum & Archive podcast makes available recordings of our evening talks programme. Episodes can be downloaded from our website or via iTunes.
Find out more about our talks and other public events on the Events page of our website.
Buy Chris West’s First Class, a History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps from the BPMA online shop.
BPMA’s Digital Content Development Manager Martin Devereux gave a talk in June as part of our photography exhibition The Post Office in Pictures. This talk is now available to download for free as a podcast.
The talk looks at the foundation of the General Post Office Photograph Library in the 1930s, its subsequent development and re-establishment when the Post Office became a statutory corporation in 1969, through to its closure in the 1990s. The Photograph Library’s contents are now part of BPMA’s archive collection (aka the Royal Mail Archive), and in recent years Martin and other members of BPMA staff have been working to make the photographs more accessible.
Cow of Knockcloghrim – A photographer working for The Post Office Magazine in the 1930s tried to make this photo of the village post office more exciting by posing a cow which was grazing nearby in the foreground. Unfortunately the cow kept moving out of shot, hence this rather unimpressive result.
You can find the photos dotted about our website, available to browse on our online catalogue, and uploaded to social network sites such as Flickr and History Pin. The photos have also found new lives as greetings cards and print-on-demand products, and been used in several of BPMA’s recent exhibitions including Designs on Delivery, Empire Mail and, of course, The Post Office in Pictures.
In his talk Martin Devereux discusses some of his favourite images from The Post Office in Pictures exhibition and the wider collection, and tells some of the stories behind them.
Noel Edmonds promoting television licensing via a helicopter.
Download The Post Office in Pictures and the BPMA Photography Collection podcast for free from www.postalheritage.org.uk/podcast.
Posted in Archive, Collection, Podcast
Tagged archives, archiving, archivist, archivists, Designs on Delivery, Empire Mail, Flickr, free download, General Post Office, General Post Office Photograph Library, GPO, GPO Photographic Unit, greetings cards, History Pin, Knockcloghrim, Martin Devereux, Noel Edmonds, photo, photo archive, photo exhibition, photo library, photographs, photography, photos, Podcast, Post Office, Royal Mail, The Post Office in Pictures, TV licence, TV licensing