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Guy Thomas  |  Jan 06, 2015  |  0 comments

The first Royal Mail stamp issue of 2015 is the 10-stamp Alice in Wonderland set, released on January 6 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale.

The book, properly titled Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, has its origins in a ‘golden afternoon’ in a rowing boat on the River Thames in Oxford in July 1862, when Charles Lutwidge Dodgson told the 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters an outlandish fantasy tale about a young girl who fell down a rabbit hole and found a world inhabited by strange anthropomorphic characters and in which very little made sense.

Under the pen-name Lewis Carroll, he published it three years later as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and it has become a classic of the nonsense literature genre, republished in myriad editions and adapted for theatre, cinema and television.

Guy Thomas  |  Nov 03, 2014  |  0 comments

This year’s Royal Mail’s Christmas stamps, released on November 4, feature outdoor scenes of a secular family Christmas by illustrator Andrew Bannecker.

Charming and colourful images depict British family Christmas traditions, from carol singing and ice skating to posting cards and buying trees, all taking place in light snowfall.

As usual they come in a set of seven, available in self-adhesive counter sheets and a gummed miniature sheet, with the 2nd Large and 1st Large designs being expanded versions of the standard 2nd class and 1st class designs.

Guy Thomas  |  Oct 08, 2014  |  0 comments

The Prime Ministers set of eight stamps, to be issued on October 14, feature some of Britain’s most influential civilian leaders, four of them from the 18th and 19th centuries and the other four from the 20th century.

The office of Prime Minister was not created, but evolved over a long period of time.

Officially, the post is still First Lord of the Treasury, although the term ‘Prime Minister’ came into use as a convenience around 200 years ago.

Julia Lee  |  Sep 09, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s Seaside Architecture stamp issue, to be released on September 18, celebrates the infrastructure that makes the uniquely British seaside holiday possible.

Six stamps from counter sheets feature piers, lidos, bandstands and shelters from around the UK’s most popular resort towns, aiming to illustrate a wide range of architectural styles from their heydays.

An accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet concentrates on the theme of piers, showing four from the Victorian era.

Julia Lee  |  Jul 28, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail starts a five-part annual series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War on July 28, with a set of six stamps linked to the first year of the conflict, 1914.

Further appropriate issues will follow in 2015-18 inclusive.

If the set looks incoherent at first glance, Royal Mail has made it clear there is a carefully planned rationale behind it.

Julia Lee  |  Jul 17, 2014  |  0 comments

On July 17, six days before the opening of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Royal Mail will issue six stamps to celebrate the largest sporting and cultural festival ever held in Scotland.

This is the third time the Games have taken place in Scotland, after Edinburgh hosted the event in 1970 and 1986.

A total of 71 national teams will compete.

Julia Lee  |  Jun 05, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s latest stamp issue, Sustainable Fish, issued on June 5 (which is World Environment Day), aims to contrast endangered species in Britain’s marine fisheries with sustainable alternatives.

So the 10 stamps feature five fish whose future is threatened due to over-fishing, and five whose stocks are still high and which therefore offer a viable alternative for consumers.

Each group of five is available as a se-tenant strip.

Julia Lee  |  May 13, 2014  |  0 comments

The Great British Film issue, to be released on May 13, celebrates a selection of the most significant and successful British movies produced since World War II.

Royal Mail consulted the British Film Institute, cinema experts and polls of popular films to arrive at its choice of six to feature on the sheet stamps.

An accompanying miniature sheet focuses on the work of the GPO Film Unit, which produced ground-breaking documentaries for the Post Office in the 1930s, including the much-loved Night Mail.

Julia Lee  |  Apr 09, 2014  |  0 comments

The Buckingham Palace set, to be issued on April 15, celebrates the history of the Queen’s official residence, which is one of the few working royal palaces left in the world.

Its history can be traced back to the early 17th century, when a mulberry garden was established on the site in London to breed silkworms.

A house built there for Lord Goring in 1633 was replaced on a larger scale by the Earl of Arlington, who was Secretary of State to King Charles II, and in 1698 Arlington House was acquired by John Sheffield, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1703.

Katy Purvis  |  Mar 25, 2014  |  0 comments

The Remarkable Lives stamp issue, to be released on March 25, is the latest in what seems to have become an annual series celebrating important figures in modern British culture, following on from Eminent Britons in 2009, Britons of Distinction in 2012 and Great Britons in 2013.

Each of this year’s honorees was born a century ago, in 1914.

They include two actors, a theatre director, a writer, an economist, a broadcaster, a scientist, a footballer, a graphic designer and a war heroine.

Julia Lee  |  Feb 12, 2014  |  0 comments

The last in the Classic Locomotives series of miniature sheets, featuring Welsh railways, will be released on February 20.

Its four stamps illustrate two engines pulling passenger trains and two in industrial use; the earliest railways in Wales were built for industrial purposes, serving collieries and smelting works.

The sheet border has a background image of the British Railways class 5101 No4126 locomotive hauling a passenger train across the Crumlin Viaduct in Monmouthshire, which was the third highest railway viaduct in the world but was dismantled in 1967.

Julia Lee  |  Jan 08, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s Working Horses special issue, to be released on February 4, salutes the contribution horses make to working life in the UK, from ceremonial functions to police work.

Besides the estimated 900,000 privately-owned horses in the UK, another 88,000 are owned and worked by professionals.

Royal Mail thinks of this set of six as a sequel to the Working Dogs issue of 2008, which it says was very popular.

Katy Purvis  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s first stamp issue of 2014, Classic Children’s TV, will celebrate much-loved animated characters drawn from more than 60 years of British television.

The release of 12 free-form self-adhesive stamps on January 7 roughly coincides with the 10th anniversary of Peppa Pig, the 40th anniversary of Bagpuss and the 50th anniversary of The Magic Roundabout.

Designed by the Interabang agency, the set was printed by International Security Printers (Walsall) in gravure.

Julia Lee  |  Oct 31, 2013  |  0 comments

For customers who would prefer secular stamps to religious stamps, Royal Mail has issued extra 1st class and 2nd class designs this Christmas, based on paintings by primary school children.

The winners of a competition launched in the summer were Molly Robson, aged 7, and Rosie Hargreaves, aged 10.

A staggering 240,000 entries were whittled down to 120 regional finalists and then a shortlist of 24 national finalists by a judging panel which included the Prince of Wales, Lauren Child, the author of the Charlie & Lola books, and Tasveer Shemza, who was six when she designed a stamp for Royal Mail’s first ever Christmas issue in 1966.

Julia Lee  |  Oct 08, 2013  |  0 comments

Royal Mail’s new Dinosaurs set, issued on October 10, features prehistoric reptile species whose fossilised remains have been discovered in Britain.

Specialist illustrator John Sibbick was commissioned to paint images of the ‘terrible lizards’ as they might have looked, with Dr Angela Milner of the Natural History Museum advising on their appearance.

The theme, which has not been covered on British stamps since 1991, ties in with the release of the 3D film version of the popular BBC television series Walking With Dinosaurs, which will be out in cinemas in December.

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