Design & icons

Explore the history of design in the postal service, from posters, uniforms, letterboxes and maps to iconic designs like the Penny Black and Machin stamp.
  • The Penny Black

    A short history of the first and most famous stamp in the world.

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  • Letter Boxes

    Find out how letter boxes in Britain became an iconic symbol of the nation, recognised the world over.

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  • Postal uniforms

    The postman's uniform is one of the most easily recognised uniforms worn in the UK - a real symbol.

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  • The Machin Design

    Find out about the creation of one of the most recognisable designs of the 20th century.

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  • Stamp Design

    Need to know the basics of British stamp design? Read our short overview.

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  • Maps

    Our Archive holds over 700 maps, dating from 1757 to the 1990s.

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  • Posters

    Explore our collection of over 6,000 posters, as well as original poster artwork.

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  • Paintings

    Our collection of paintings covers over three hundred years of postal activity. They show us how the artists and their contemporaries perceived the postal service.

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  • The first Christmas card

    Find out more about the world's first Christmas card, sent 178 years ago.

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You can search collection records in the online catalogue and study material from our archives by visiting The Discovery Room.

Access and enquiries Search our catalogue Visit The Discovery Room