30 March 2022 - 1 Jan 2023 / 10:00 - 17:00
The Postal Museum
Included in museum ticket

Discover the ground-breaking technology that changed the post forever in a new exhibition.

PL152 7/61

Side A of leaflet

from:
POST110/6043
(Publications advertising postal coding
1961-1994)
PL152 7/61 Side A of leaflet from: POST110/6043 (Publications advertising postal coding 1961-1994)
'London Postal District map: Showing the position of each London and Suburban Sorting Office with the Cart routes and circulation through the East and West Central Districts'
'London Postal District map: Showing the position of each London and Suburban Sorting Office with the Cart routes and circulation through the East and West Central Districts'

From wartime tech pioneers to Poco the Postcode Elephant, uncover the surprising story of the postcode. Sorting Britain delves into the Post Office innovation that revolutionised how post was processed, sorted, and delivered and its unintended outcomes for life in Britain.

Postcodes are now part of everyday life. They affect everything from communications and identity to house prices and care. They were first trialed in Norwich in 1959, but their story goes back further. Take a journey from the early postal districts of London, Liverpool and Manchester in the 1850s to the modern coding we know today. Meet the amazing minds working at the Post Office Research Centre at Dollis Hill in the 1930s to 60s. And consider ‘what does my postcode say about me?’, as we delve into how postcodes today are used to sort people, as well as post.

Exhibition highlights will include:

  • ELSIE, one of the only original 1950s Electronic Letter Sorting Indicating Equipment left in existence, goes on display for the first time in 20 years, as visitors try their hand at coding post.
  • ‘Poco the Postcode Elephant’, one of the biggest advertising campaigns of the 1980s.
  • From hearing aids to Colossus – the world’s first programable computer – understand how the Post Office was one of the biggest innovators in mid-century Britain.
  • Stunning unseen maps of London from the 19th century to be displayed.