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British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive

Post Office: Postage Stamps: Records


Reference code(s): GB 0813 POST 54 Series

Held at: British Postal Museum and Archive: The Royal Mail Archive

Title: Post Office: Postage Stamps: Records

Date(s): 1840-1990

Level of description: Series

Extent: 39 files and 20 volumes

Name of creator(s):

No further information available


Administrative/Biographical history:

From the introduction of penny postage in 1840 all stamps and stamped stationery was produced, distributed and paid for by the Inland Revenue's Commissioners of Stamps and Taxes. In December 1876 the Inland Revenue suggested that it would be more appropriate for these costs to be met by the Post Office. At the beginning of the financial year in 1883 the Treasury instructed the Post Office to budget for the cost of stamp production. (POST 54/3).

Although the Post Office was now footing the bill, the Inland Revenue retained responsibility for manufacturing and distribution arrangements until 1 April 1914. On this date the Post Office took over all operations at the Inland Revenue's Somerset House stamp distribution centre for England and Wales. This involved the manufacture and distribution of all postage stamps, adhesive revenue and fee stamps, insurance stamps, postal orders, licenses, savings bank coupons, stamped postal stationery and telegraph forms for use in England and Wales. The transfer was authorised by the Treasury and "The Inland Revenue and Post Office (Powers and Duties) Order" was published by His Majesty's Stationery Office in March 1914. (POST 54/36).

The complicated relationship between the Inland Revenue, the Post Office, stamp designers, printers and printing hardware manufacturers is well represented in correspondence and memoranda relating to the introduction of King George V postage stamps, following his accession to the throne in 1910. (POST 54/48 - 49).

In 1962 yet another authority was to officially enter the sphere of postage stamp production. The existing relationship between the Post Office and the Council of Industrial Design was reviewed and the Postmaster General's new Stamp Advisory Committee was created consisting of Post Office and COID members. The role of the committee was clearly defined in a memorandum agreed by both parties. (POST 54/16). Today the SAC continues to influence the issue of postage stamps primarily through making recommendations to Royal Mail for commemorative stamp subjects and the selection of final designs. Other matters relating to the production and marketing of stamps and philatelic products are the responsibility of the Post Office Stamps and Philately Board (Stamps Advisory Committee).


Scope and content/abstract:

This series comprises minutes, reports, correspondence and statistics relating to postage stamps. It relates to the design, selection of designs and production of postage stamps and stamp books, matters concerning responsibility for production costs, the use of stamps as remittance, the introduction of King George V postage stamps, and questions regarding postage stamps put to the Postmaster General through Parliament.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The material is arranged in date order within series.

Conditions governing access:

Public Record

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Please contact the Archive for further information.


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Please contact the Archive for further information.


Related material:

Material relating to the work of the Post Office Stamp Depot can be found in POST 52.

See POST 53 and POST 117: Universal Postal Union, the minuted classes POST 29 - 33 and 122 for information on postage rates.

The Post Office's postage stamp collection and other philatelic material is found in POST 141-POST 150.


Archivist's note: Entry checked by Barbara Ball

Rules or conventions:

Compiled in compliance with General Internation Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G) second edition 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Date(s) of descriptions: Entry checked June 2011

Postal services | Communication industry

Personal names

Corporate names
Inland Revenue
Post Office