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Stamp site sponsored and run by the National Philatelic Society, London, United Kingdom

Welcome to UK Philately
Introducing Philately in the UK
See stamps
postal history


 Where to see Stamps & Postal History 

Looking at exhibits of stamps and postal history can be both enjoyable and a valuable way of increasing your own knowledge and expertise. Opportunities to do this can take the form of

      - Displays given at your philatelic society
      - Philatelic Competitions and Exhibitions open to the public
      - Postal Museums   
      - Philatelic Collections open to the public

A welcome development in recent years has been the introduction of on-line galleries of philatelic rarities on the websites of the country's major collections including The Royal Philatelic Collection and the Collections held at the British Library. Further details are given below. 

Displays at your Philatelic Society
Whether given by visiting speakers or the Society's own members, these are invariably interesting and informative. Examples of such philatelic displays can found in the current programme of meetings at the National Philatelic Society

Visit the Join a Club page for information on society meetings in general and how to find a Society.


Philatelic Competitions & Exhibitions open to the public
Competitions and Exhibitions open to the public are a good way to see stamps and displays of material.  The country is divided up into Philatelic Federations many of which organise Federation Days that include such competitions. On a larger scale are the annual National Competitions, the exhibitions held at STAMPEX at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London and the international exhibitions held in this country such as LONDON 2010 and London 2015 EUROPHILEX .  

Click here for details of forthcoming events.


Postal Museums

Bath Postal Museum
27 Northgate Street
(on the corner of Green St.)

This fascinating museum includes collections of philatelic material and items demonstrating the vital role played by Bath  in the development of communications, and improving the British postal service. Full details, including directions and opening hours, may be found on the Bath Postal Museum website which also offers the opportunity to browse its digital collection 
Email  Tel: 01225 460333

The British Postal Museum & Archive
Freeling House
Phoenix Place Entrance

Records of the British Post Office are held from the 17th Century to the present day. The records are classed as Public Records by Act of Parliament: researchers may therefore examine not only published material but unpublished papers over thirty years old.

The range of the records cover the growth of the local stamp services, philately (which provides a background on stamp production as well as proof impressions of date and cancellation stamps) records of employees and forms of transport used to convey the mail, etc. Apart from the records of the Post Office other records include private papers relating to key individuals, the Post Office Savings Bank, broadcasting and publicity, including a large poster collection.

Although the National Postal Museum has closed until plans for its future are settled, facilities for researchers are available by prior appointment at the Postal Heritage Trust.

In addition the public Search Room at The British Postal Museum & Archive stages small exhibitions of items from its holdings. Highlights of the current (November 2011) "Treasures of the Archive" Exhibition include one of the only complete sheets of Penny Blacks in the world, and the Old Original die of 1840 from which all Penny Blacks and many Penny Reds were created. Also displayed are unique items celebrating the centenary of the world's first regular Aerial Post from Hendon to Windsor, established as part of the celebrations for the coronation of King George V. This includes the striking 1911 poster promoting the flight, original artwork for commemorative postcards and envelopes, and the postcard addressed from the pilot Gustav Hamel to the Postmaster General. Original handstamps from both Hendon and Windsor will also be on display. Click here to view past exhibitions on line.

Further details including directions and opening hours may be found on the website  E-mail:   Tel: 020 7239 2570


Philatelic Collections open to the public
British Library Philatelic Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
St Pancras

The British Library's Philatelic Collections are the world's largest, most diverse and most complete of their kind. They include a wide variety of items: not only postage stamps, but also revenue stamps (both adhesive and non-adhesive), postal stationery, postal history materials, meter stamps, postal orders, paper money, and more besides. About half are from Great Britain. The rest come from the British Empire, British Commonwealth and foreign countries. The Standing Collections are on permanent display to the general public. 

There is a Permanent Exhibition Area for the Philatelic Collections on the upper ground floor of the British Library, St Pancras, where members of the public can see some of the world's rarest and most significant stamps. Other collections are available to researchers and details may be obtained by visiting the excellent Philatelic Collections Overview on the British Library website 

The website also includes an On line galleries of Philatelic rarities

General information on opening hours etc can be found on the main British Library website  E-mail:  Tel: 020 7412 7635

The Royal Philatelic Collection
The Royal Philatelic Collection is not on general public display, since much of the Collection is fragile. However, examples are occasionally on public display by kind permission of The Queen.

Selections from the Collection are also displayed at other exhibitions in the United Kingdom and at major international stamp shows. In 2010, the collection collaborated with The British Postal Museum and Archive on an exhibition entitled 'Empire Mail: George V and the GPO' which was on display at Guildhall Art Gallery as part of 'London 2010: Festival of Stamps'. Recent years have seen displays of material from the Collection at exhibitions in the UK in London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Chester, Torquay, Croydon and Harrogate.

Click here for further details and to view on-line gallery of rarities from the collection.

Last updated 18/11//2011

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