Treasures of the Archive

The BPMA is custodian of two significant collections that together span 400 years of postal heritage: the Royal Mail Archive and the museum collection of the former National Postal Museum. Records in the Royal Mail Archive are Designated as being of outstanding national importance.

Hunting through these collections has uncovered many treasures from our nation's postal history. Treasures of the Archive gives a rare chance to see some of these gems, from a pistol carried by a Mail Coach Guard in the 1800s, to a bag of evidence from the Great Train Robbery of 1963. Many of the objects represent much larger collections which are valuable as a whole.

Objects in the museum collection range from the very large – vehicles and sorting machines – to the very small – handstamps, medals and badges. It includes objects of historical importance, and also more everyday items illuminating the work of a service which has grown to become a part of daily life.

The historic records of Royal Mail Group Limited deal with essential aspects of everyday life beyond the delivery of mail. All aspects of this organisation's unique history, from employment records to stamp artwork, are held within The Royal Mail Archive, one of the oldest business archives in the world.

Image of The First Pillar Box

The First Pillar Box

Red letter boxes are now a familiar site on our streets, but they were not introduced in the British...


Image of The Mail Coach

The Mail Coach

Post Boys originally had the slow and dangerous task of transporting the Royal Mail...


Image of The Penny Black

The Penny Black

The stamp seems a simple notion, yet it wasn't until the late 1830s that Rowland Hill...


Image of King George V

King George V

The reign of George V spanned an era of conflict and change. The King found solace in stamp...


Image of GPO Design

GPO Design

The Post Office pioneered the use of graphic design and film as communication tools...


Image of The Machin Head

The Machin Head

The Machin head has become an icon of Britain. With an estimated 200 billion stamps printed...


Image of Stamps That Never Were

Stamps That Never Were

The BPMA holds all adopted and unadopted artwork for all British stamp issues...


Image of The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery is a story that has captured the nation's imagination for many years...


Image of Postal Mechanisation

Postal Mechanisation

Collecting, sorting, cancelling and delivering the mail have traditionally been...


Image of World's First Aerial Post

World's First Aerial Post

The first flight of the Aerial Post took place on 9 September 1911 between...



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