A Visit to the Bath Postal Museum
On Monday I had the honour of being invited to visit the Bath Postal Museum by its co-founder Audrey Swindells MBE. Audrey and I became in touch through serendipity one day, when I was researching the former postmaster of Bath Thomas Moore Musgrave, of which Audrey is an expert on. We kept in touch, which lead onto an interview, and then on Monday, an invitation to her museum and then round to hers for tea afterwards.
And so, sun shining and with a bright blue sky, I bundled into my car and made the journey over to Bath. It's been a number of years since I visited the city but it was just as I remembered it. Beautifully grand stone buildings, interesting independent shops, buzzing streets and a certain magic all around.
I headed over to the museum, located at 27 Northgate Street, where I was greeted by John Roe, a volunteer at the museum and keen philatelist, surrounded by a treasure trove of postal delights.
The museum is situated in the lower ground floor in a reasonably sized space, but everywhere the eye looks you find interesting objects, interactive displays, wall pieces and cabinets full to the brim of postal history.
Bath has a great history with the postal service - the Mail Coaches were invented there by John Palmer, and the first ever stamp ( the Penny Black) was posted there by Thomas Moore Musgrave. You'll find tonnes of information on these two at the museum, as well as Ralph Allen who is known for his work in reforming the postal service.
Elsewhere you have the opportunity to perforate your very own stamps, dress up as some of the aforementioned postal celebrities, and alert the sounds of the Mail Coaches.
One section of particular note to keen letter writers, would be the cabinet of old writing tools. From lovely ornate fountain pens, to old goose feather quills, stamp boxes to wax seals - the display takes you through the history of letter writing to present day with so many quaint objects to marvel at.
If you're ever in Bath, don't miss a visit here. The museum is open weekdays and more information can be found on their website.
APPEAL - the museum is currently actively looking for new volunteers to come on board. They would love to be open on Saturdays but require more people to enable that to happen. It's a wonderful place to work and anyone with a keen interesting in writing, history, or just chatting to interested strangers would be welcome to apply.
Thank you Audrey for the invitation!