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British Postal Museum and Archive

The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) illuminates the lives of people in the Post Office and the history of communications which helped to shape the modern world. The BPMA works to make the story of communication, industry, and innovation accessible to everyone. We care for the visual, written and physical records of over 400 years of postal development.

Our Museum and Archive collections can be searched on our online catalogue.

Current archival holdings are:

  • Business records: The company records of Royal Mail Group Limited deal with all aspects of this organisations unique history, from employment records to stamp artwork and it constitutes one of the oldest business archives in the world
  • Visual and media records: The records contain the photographic library of publicity shots dating from 1934, posters dating from the 1930s and films of the General Post Office Film Unit from 1932 (taking over from the Empire Marketing Board) and cover promotion of services, information and training.
  • Wartime: The records of the Army Postal History 1888-1975 and the War and Civil Emergencies 1859-1969 contain details of the countries response to conflicts. The effect of the First and Second World Wars was much more widespread than previous wars. Like any public industry, postal services were severely affected.
  • Family history records: The records of appointments, pensions and benefits and the staff magazine allow family historians to search for relatives.
  • Local history records: The records include maps of areas and details of premises.
  • Stamps & Philately: The records include a digitised collection (R M Phillips Collection) of Victorian stamps, British stamps, Universal Postal Unions stamps, postal stationary and markings.
  • Transport records: The records document the development of postal transport from the 1680s, from the days of packet ships and mail coaches, through to air mail and the post bus.

The Museum collection includes objects of all sizes, from the small - handstamps, labels and telephone headsets - to the very large - our Mobile Post Office Vehicles and Travelling Post Office railway coach. It also includes non-Public Record paper material - related to the postal service but not created by Royal Mail Group - such as song sheets and postcards. The collection is constantly being added to and we collect things that reflect the role of people in the postal service, and the innovations in technology to meet the demands of a changing world. Details of items can be found at

The Royal Mail Archive is open for the public to use and enjoy, Mon-Wed 10-5, Thu 10-7, Fri 10-5 and selected Sat (please see for Sat dates and times).

Special feature: Designs on Delivery: GPO Posters from 1930 to 1960

Archive address: Freeling House
Phoenix Place

Telephone: 020 7239 2570

Email: Web:

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