Tag Archives: Malaysia

Postal thoughts from Penang

Writer Rebecca Mileham has been working with us on the text for the interactive exhibition galleries at The Postal Museum. She shares how a recent trip brought home to her the impact and influence of the postal service around the world.

Streets of

Streets of Penang

In the scorching heat of Penang in Malaysia, you’ll find all the spicy flavours and intriguing scents of a tropical island. As you sit in an open-air coffee shop and order a plate of sizzling noodles or an ice kacang, it all feels truly exotic and different.

But Penang has one very familiar sight that reminded me of home, as I discovered on a trip there a few weeks ago. At the side of a busy road, I spotted a red pillar box, complete with the initials VR – Victoria Regina.

P1020003

Still in daily use, this sturdy piece of Victorian heritage stands next to two local Pos Malaysia mailboxes. Together, they’re a great reminder of the influence of the Post Office around the world, and the way it changed communications forever.

At The Postal Museum, we are preparing to share the vivid stories of hardship, heroism, intrigue and ingenuity that have shaped the postal service over the last five centuries.

From the earliest years as a mail service for Henry VIII, to the reforms that brought penny postage in reach of everyone in Britain, the museum will also trace the vital role of the post during wartime. The picture comes up to date with striking new designs, new technologies and new ways to keep in touch – and looks at how the Post Office and Royal Mail still deliver vital services today.

We’ll use the museum’s collections of objects, images and original letters to reveal the answers to mysterious questions. How did a lion once delay the post? Why would people die to save the mail? Did the Penny Black stamp really change the world? Who once sent themselves in the post to 10 Downing Street?

Special delivery to the Prime Minister from suffragettes

Special delivery to the Prime Minister from suffragettes

You can also have a go at sending mail by pneumatic tube, or seeing how you look in a letter carrier’s uniform.

The archive and collections have incredible tales to tell and we’re putting the finishing touches to the text now in time for the opening in late 2016. See you then.

-Rebecca Mileham
rebecca.mileham.net

BPMA aids author

Every week many people to come to the BPMA to use our Archive Search Room. Whether it’s family historians finding out about their ancestors, historians interested in communications or philatelists furthering their knowledge, all are welcome.

Len Stanway, author of the Malaya Study Group’s new book Malaysia and the Federation of Malaya – Their Stamps and Postal Stationery, has expressed his thanks to BPMA staff for filling a gap in the available information on the printing of postal stationery for Malaya.

The author explained “When Messrs. McCorquodale took over the printing of envelopes and aerogrammes for Malaya from Messrs. De La Rue, the data on shipments was not fed back to the Crown Agents ledgers which are now held by the British Library. A Fiji researcher, John Ray, drew my attention to the existence of a BPMA file, POST 52/704, which contained reports from Post Office inspectors who were based at McCorquodale in the late 1950s and early 1960s to examine British issues and who handled Commonwealth shipments on behalf on Crown Agents in their spare time. This filled many of the gaps in the available information. You do not have to be a collector of Great Britain to find the BPMA a valuable resource.”

A registration envelope printed by McCorquodale for the Malayan state of Selangor

A registration envelope printed by McCorquodale for the Malayan state of Selangor

The Federation of Malaya came into existence in 1948, became independent of the United Kingdom in 1957 and was incorporated in an enlarged Malaysia in 1963. Len Stanway’s book explores the stamps and postal stationery issued during that period, including, where known, all printing orders and varieties. The postage due stamps of the Malayan Postal Union were in use throughout the period, so their full story from 1935 is described, as are the state and federal revenue stamps issued during the Federation period. Philatelic and political background information is covered in introductory chapters, together with brief biographies of the rulers and other eminent persons connected with the stamps.

Volume 1, covering the 1948 to 1963 period, was published this month and is available from the Malaya Study Group’s website: www.malayastudygroup.com. Volume Two will cover the 1963 to 1994 period and all Malaysia postage due stamps, while Volume 3 will cover 1995 to 2009. Supplementary information for 2010 onwards will initially be provided through the columns of The Malayan Philatelist, the journal of The Malaya Study Group.

A McCorquodale aerogramme for Singapore used by fan to ask Miss Doris Day for the words of "Deadwood Stage".

A McCorquodale aerogramme for Singapore used by fan to ask Miss Doris Day for the words of "Deadwood Stage".

Len Stanway’s interest in philately began at the age of 6 and he has been a member of the Malaya Study Group for 30 years. He is also a member of Singapore Stamp Club and the Sarawak Specialists’ Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London. He holds various posts in local, regional and national philatelic societies, and has written extensively for various society publications and stamp magazines.

If you are interested in conducting philatelic research at the BPMA please see our website for further information on what records we hold and how we can assist you. The Archive Search Room is open every weekday from 10am to 5pm, except Thursdays when we are open until 7pm. The Search Room will also be open on six Saturdays throughout 2010; see the What’s On section of our website for details.