Tag Archives: poster

Seasons greetings by radio

In the lead-up to Christmas we are sharing with you 12 Posters of Christmas, a dozen classic postal posters from the Royal Mail Archive. Today’s is…

Poster advertising radio telegram service; featuring a ship and the radio mast, November 1960. (POST 110/1406)

Poster advertising radio telegram service; featuring a ship and the radio mast, November 1960. (POST 110/1406)

Wireless or radio telegraphy was pioneered by Guglielmo Marconi and General Post Office (GPO) at the end of the 19th Century; we have previously blogged on its important role in saving lives after the Titanic disaster. While Marconi’s invention was originally implemented to transmit messages where a wired telegraph network did not exist (i.e. to ships at sea), radio was, of course, later used to broadcast information and entertainment (we have also previously blogged on the GPO’s involvement with the BBC and early broadcasting).

The above poster from 1960 advertises the GPO’s radio telegram service, where telegrams were sent overseas via a relay of on-shore transmitting stations and ships. International telephone calls were still prohibitively expensive in this period and telegrams were the most affordable option for anyone needing to send a quick message over long distances. This poster, which would have been a common site at local post offices, uses simple, stylish graphics to encourage the public to use this service at Christmas.

Post Early at Christmas

In the lead-up to Christmas we are sharing with you 12 Posters of Christmas, a dozen classic postal posters from the Royal Mail Archive. Today’s is…

Poster advertising final posting dates for the festive period; featuring a Christmas tree and a candle, designed by Hans Arnold Rothholz, 1951. (POST 110/1276)

Poster advertising final posting dates for the festive period; featuring a Christmas tree and a candle, designed by Hans Arnold Rothholz, 1951. (POST 110/1276)

From the 1930s until the 1960s the Post Office ran its annual “Post early” campaign, encouraging people to send their letters and parcels as early as possible to avoid a rush in the week leading up to Christmas. We have previously blogged about this campaign and how it became a victim of its own success. A Post Office Regional Director’s Conference paper of 1966 (RD (66) 2, POST 73/122) concluded that the campaign had proved to be “somewhat of an embarrassment since it produces a large volume of traffic before we are ready for it”.

The above poster from 1951 shows the last posting dates as 19 and 20 December, Royal Mail’s recommending posting dates for 2012 can be found on their website. If you are sending a Christmas card or parcel to Canada, Eastern Europe or the United States today is the last day – do not delay!

You can purchase a selection of “Post early” Christmas greeting cards from our online shop. For delivery within the UK please place your order by 18 December.

Temporary Christmas Staff

In the lead-up to Christmas we are sharing with you 12 Posters of Christmas, a dozen classic postal posters from the Royal Mail Archive. Today’s is…

Christmas temporary staff wanted, General Post Office recruitment poster, 1946. (PRD 0450)

Christmas temporary staff wanted, General Post Office recruitment poster, 1946. (PRD 0450)

It may not be the most exciting poster in the Royal Mail Archive, but this poster from 1946 is one of many that have been produced over the years to help Royal Mail and the Post Office recruit extra staff for Christmas. This year Royal Mail Group has hired around 18,000 extra staff to sort more than 130 million extra items per day, including Christmas cards and parcels.

Today’s Christmas recruitment is organised through websites and agencies, but in the 1940s it would have been common to see posters such as this in local post offices and employment exchanges. The blue lettering may seem dull to modern eyes, but this poster was produced in 1946 and colourful printing inks were in short supply during and after the war – you may have noticed that the colours in the 1944 Christmas Airgraphs poster we blogged yesterday were equally muted. Next Monday’s poster, produced in 1951, will be a more colourful offering, however…

GPO Christmas Posters

The tendency of many people to post letters at the very last minute poses a considerable problem to the Post Office and Royal Mail especially in the run-up to Christmas. The large volume of post, late in the day or only a few days before the Christmas holidays, has made the allocation of resources and the efficient provision of service much more complex and costly since the 1930s. When the GPO Public Relations Department was created in 1934, a poster campaign to educate the public to “Post Early this Christmas” started and some striking and wonderful poster designs were produced. We wrote about this successful campaign in a previous blog and now want to present some of our favourite poster images to set the mood for Christmas – and to remind you to “Shop Early – Post Early.”

Shop Early – Post Early poster (Holly Leaf) by Derek Hass from 1953 (POST 110/4243)

Shop Early – Post Early poster (Holly Leaf) by Derek Hass from 1953 (POST 110/4243)

From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Post Office commissioned well-known designers like Jan Lewitt & George Him, Tom Eckersley or Barnett Freedman for posters informing the public about the correct use of the postal service. Just like modern advertising campaigns, the designers used animals, striking colours and humour to get their message across. Tom Eckersley’s “Be First, Not Last – Travel Early – Shop Early – Post Early” poster from 1955 features a pantomime horse in two halves: the front half (“Be First”) is smiling, the back half (“Not Last”) frowning. Dogs, Cats, Reindeer, Doves and Owls were equally popular motives to educate the public and prevent the Christmas rush.

Be First, Not Last – Travel Early – Shop Early – Post Early by Tom Eckersley from 1955 (POST 110/1340)

Be First, Not Last – Travel Early – Shop Early – Post Early by Tom Eckersley from 1955 (POST 110/1340)

Post Early (Dachshund) by Leonard Beaumont from 1950

Post Early (Dachshund) by Leonard Beaumont from 1950

Santa Claus himself also appears in different shapes and sizes – “on wheels” with his beard flying in the wind (Manfred Reiss, 1952), skating on ice (POST 110/3213 John Rowland Barker c.1951), or flying over a smoking chimney with a bag of parcels (Eric Fraser, 1946).

Travel Shop Post Early (Father Christmas) poster by John Rowland Barker a.k.a. Kraber from 1951 (POST 110/3213)

Travel Shop Post Early (Father Christmas) poster by John Rowland Barker a.k.a. Kraber from 1951 (POST 110/3213)

Post Early and get 20% off BPMA Christmas cards!

Buy your Christmas cards by the 19 November 2012 from the BPMA Online Shop and receive 20% off your Christmas cards order over £10 (before Postage & Packaging). Enter POSTEARLY2012 discount code at checkout, or visit our Public Search Room in London.

150 years of the Post Office Savings Bank

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), which opened for business on 16 September 1861. The Bank was set up to encourage ordinary people to save money safe in the knowledge that it was secured by the government. It also provided the government with a financial asset. The Bank did not just offer savings accounts. Over time it introduced a range of other services including government stocks and bonds in 1880, war savings in 1916 and premium savings bonds in 1956.

Romford Head Post Office - Savings Bank transaction, 1950 (POST 118/2058)

Romford Head Post Office - Savings Bank transaction, 1950 (POST 118/2058)

Over the years the POSB provided home safes to encourage people to save pennies at home before depositing the contents into their accounts.

Red Taylor Law Book Home Safe (OB1994.320)

Red Taylor Law Book Home Safe (OB1994.320)

It also produced a wealth of publicity material including leaflets, posters and even a number of GPO films, all encouraging the public to save with the Post Office. You can see a selection of POSB posters and poster artwork from our collection on Flickr.

Eureka. Artwork for a poster by Stan Krol, c. 1960 (POST 109/902).

Eureka! Artwork for a poster by Stan Krol, c. 1960 (POST 109/902).

In 1969, the Bank ceased to be part of the Post Office. Instead it became a separate government department and was known as National Savings. However, the Bank’s link with the postal service continued as post offices continued to act as outlets, handling deposits and withdrawals over the counter. On 1st July 1996 National Savings became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and from 2002 it became known as National Savings & Investments, later shortened to NS&I.

The BPMA’s Archive class POST 75 holds the records of the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB), including a copy of the Act of Parliament that established the Bank. The records range in date from 1828 until 1975 (the records dated after 1969 are ones the Bank did not take with it when it became a government department). They include acts and regulations, reports, publicity and publications, forms and notices. Further records are housed at The National Archives in Kew.

To celebrate the anniversary the BPMA has produced a new postcard pack including four POSB poster designs and two new greetings cards also featuring POSB posters. Find these on our Shop website.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 23rd December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

Dyddiadau postio diweddaraf (Latest posting dates) (1983)

Dyddiadau postio diweddaraf (Latest posting dates) (1983)

Poster in Welsh advertising final Christmas postal dates for 1983.

Artist: Not known.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 22nd December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

Overseas Christmas mail 1981. Recommended last posting dates (1981)

Overseas Christmas mail 1981. Recommended last posting dates (1981)

Poster advertising a leaflet giving final Christmas postal dates.

Artist: Not known.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 21st December

Virtual Advent Calendar –

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

The last date for posting Christmas mail to Japan is… (1970)

The last date for posting Christmas mail to Japan is... (1970)

Poster advertising a leaflet entitled: ‘Guide to Overseas Christmas post dates’.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 20th December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

Speed the mail at Christmas (December 1968)

Speed the mail at Christmas (December 1968)

Internal GPO poster advising on how best to handle mail at Christmas; featuring a robin and two snowflakes.

Artist: Ripley.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.

Virtual Advent Calendar – 17th December

In the lead-up to Christmas we are showcasing some of the festive items in our collection across our social networks. Behind the door of our virtual advent calendar today is…

For Christmas send gay Postal Order gift cards. 4d each with envelope (1961)

For Christmas send gay Postal Order gift cards. 4d each with envelope (1961)

Poster advertising postal order accessories.

Artist: Not known.

See larger images of all the items in our Virtual Advent Calendar on Flickr.