Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stashed Away Under the Escalators

Where: The Postal Museum

When: through January 16, 2017

The Postal Museum doesn't often have special exhibits, so I don't visit very mjuch.  When I worked close by, I saw the permanent collection, so I only go if there's something temporary up.  The last thing I recall really liking was a show about Franklin Roosevelt and stamps.

This week, I went over to see two documents, borrowed from a private collection, that are important to the history of the British mail service.  The first was a declaration from Charles I that the Royal Mail could be used for private purposes, dating from 1635.  It's in very fine condition, for being almost 400 years old.  The second is comparatively recent, from 1840; it's a letter sheet proof for the first stamp for individual use of the post office.  From 1635 to 1840, the mail was used largely for business purposes; this allowed private persons to use the mail as well.

My only quibble is that this display is literally under the escalators running between the museum's first and second floors, so it's very easy to overlook them.  Perhaps they wanted something that wouldn't get a lot of light, but surely they could have managed something a bit better than this?

Verdict: Worth seeing if you're a British history buff.

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