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London to Hold Year Long Celebration of Stamps, Design and Postal Heritage
©Royal Mail Group Ltd., 2009. Courtesy: The British Postal Museum & Archive.

LONDON.- A year long festival of exhibitions and events celebrating stamps, their design and postal heritage kicks off in January 2010. The "London 2010: Festival of Stamps", coordinated by The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA), will show the important role that stamps play in our lives: as a key part of a nation’s heritage they form the world’s biggest public art gallery, showcasing a diverse and striking picture of the world.

A highlight of next year’s Festival includes a major exhibition which celebrates the centenary of George V’s (1910-1936) accession to the throne. "Empire Mail: George V and the GPO", opens at the prestigious Guildhall Art Gallery, in the heart of the City of London, 7 May and runs until July 25, 2010. Many items from the BPMA’s unique collections will be on display in this exhibition that explores the life of King George V, who became known as the Philatelist King through his personal passions as a stamp collector. Featuring posters, vehicles, pillar boxes, philatelic rarities and gems from the GPO Film Unit, "Empire Mail: George V and the GPO" will display themes from the King’s reign such as innovations in mail transportation, the first Atlantic air crossing, the rise of graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s and war-time memorabilia.

One of the first events of the Festival is "Post Abolition: Commemorative Stamps From Around The World" (18 January 2010 – 30 June 2010). This new display in the London, Sugar and Slavery Gallery of the Museum of London Docklands looks at how the abolition of slavery has been commemorated through the everyday postage stamp.

Other events taking place across London and beyond include displays at the British Library; British Museum; Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum; and a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home with stamps featuring cats and dogs. There’s also a walking tour which explores 400 years of postal history and developments in the iconic street furniture of telephone kiosks and letter boxes. The tour takes in former GPO buildings, and the sites of old coffee houses and inns which were at the heart of communications across the empire.

Douglas Muir, Curator of Philately, The British Postal Museum & Archive said: “the London 2010: Festival of Stamps offers something for everyone – whether you’re an enthusiast of international rugby, African culture or more broadly interested in geography or history, or design in the 1920s and 30s. The Festival not only aims to fascinate keen stamp collectors and philatelists but anyone with an interest in design and the world.”

The British Postal Museum & Archive | The London 2010 | George V | Post Abolition |

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