The Post Office in Pictures at Lumen

3 April 2012

Did you know that game was once allowed to be sent through the post with nothing but a neck label?

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is proud to present The Post Office in Pictures, a new exhibition showcasing iconic photographs from its collection, some of which have never previously been seen by the public.

The Post Office in Pictures is now coming to London for the first time, and will be on show at an exciting temporary venue, The Lumen, 19 May to 31 August 2012.

The exhibition showcases a selection of inspiring images sourced from the vast collections of The British Postal Museum and Archive. From strange creatures sent through the post, to the daily deliveries by land, sea and air… the photos feature a fascinating series of windows on Britain from the 1930s to 1980s- including the unusual, the unseen and the quite unexpected.

The Post Office in Pictures has its origins in 1934, when the General Post Office (GPO) established its Public Relations Department. Headed by the entrepreneurial Sir Stephen Tallents, the department’s aim was to promote good relations with the public, to provide guidance on using postal services, and to gather and interpret customer feedback to help shape the work of the GPO.

Photography was one of the key tools used by the PR Department to reach and engage with the general public. In order to supply its fledgling Post Office Magazine with professionally-produced photographs, Tallents secured the services of skilled photographers from the Engineer-in-Chief’s Department. Members of the GPO Photographic Unit began to accompany the magazine’s journalists, creating visually appealing, informative and often humorous articles about daily life in Britain.

The Post Office Magazine was published for staff and the general public alike, between 1934 and 1966. From remote regions to the industrial heartland of the country, it showed the General Post Office (GPO) doing what it did best – serving the nation in times of need and in times of leisure; through new and expanding services such as Air Mail, to the more traditional services provided by cheerful, efficient, and ever-present postmen.

Andy Richmond, Exhibitions Manager at the BPMA commented:

“The Post Office was once Britain’s largest employer and the BPMA are proud to put part of their unique collection of photographs on show to the public, demonstrating the importance of the ‘postie’ in everyone’s lives”.

Exhibition details:

The Post Office in Pictures

19 May – 31 August

Lumen URC, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RS

Free entry – donations welcomed

See for more information 


Museums at Night: The Post Office in Pictures, at the Lumen

Friday May 18th 7.30- 10 (doors open at 7.00) 

To celebrate the exhibition’s opening night, we have a host of activities taking place:

Artist and writer Guy Atkins will be asking on the night if you want to make your life a bit less virtual… he will be giving a talk on the history of postcards and their messages. For example, did you know between 1902 and 1910 the Edwardians sent 6 billion postcards? We promise after Guy’s talk you’ll never look at a postcard again in the same way.

Also available on the night will be a ‘ludicrously brilliant photo booth’, supplied by the one and only The Mighty Booth. The bespoke photo booth is designed for quick, take away photos with as many people as you can fit inside the booth! This will be a chance to take home both a reminder of the night, and the exhibition. Will your photo be as inventive or downright strange as those on display in the exhibition?

To complement the photographs on display there will also be several screenings throughout the evening of the renowned and iconic Night Mail.

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