Royal Mail's educational resource website
Royal Mail's educational resource website
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Last Post: The Postal Service in the First World War, a free learning resource for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 from the British Postal Museum & Archive, sponsored by Royal Mail
Last Post: The Postal Service in the First World War reveals the fascinating human stories of the General Post Office (GPO) at War.
Did you know?
GPO in the First World War
During the First World War the GPO released more than 75,000 employees to fight, including 12,000 men who fought in its own regiment, the Post Office Rifles. In their absence the GPO became one of the largest employers of women when over 33,000 women stepped in to fill these positions.
The Post Office Rifles fought in many of the First World War’s major battles after arriving in France in March 1915. For their services members were awarded 145 decorations for gallantry, including one Victoria Cross and 27 battle honours. Four postal workers won the Victoria Cross during the course of the war but Sgt Alfred Knight, whose story of selflessness and bravery is explored in the learning resource, was the only Post Office Rifle.
During the conflict, the GPO controlled Britain’s domestic postal, telegraph and telephone services. Writing and receiving letters and parcels were a vital part of sustaining morale and overcoming the boredom of trench life. This meant that letters were written to and from the Front Line with great frequency. When war broke out, a purpose built sorting office was created in London’s Regent’s Park called the Home Depot to handle this increase in the volume of mail. At the height of the war it handled over 12.5 million letters a week. Every letter sent from Britain to the fighting fronts was sorted and censored here by over 2,500 workers, many of them women, and on average it only took two days for a letter from Britain to reach the Western Front.
The Learning Resource
In Last Post war time characters guide pupils through the different topics to tell these stories and many more. Using real archival documents, photographs, maps and museum objects they will discover how the postal service went to war. There are also over 100 fun and engaging cross-curricular activities to aid learning, including how to make a Morse code transmitter, how to send a secret message by pigeon post and how to search the Royal Mail war memorials database to learn about the impact of the war in your area.
The free resource includes:
ROYAL MAIL LAUNCHES SPECIAL STAMPS CELEBRATING UK’S PIERS AND SEASIDE ARCHITECTURE
The chosen selection captures distinctive types of seaside architecture from key periods with a range of resort type – large and small, well-known and less so.
The structures represent the key time periods of seaside development from the Victorian and Art Deco eras, to the Modernism of 1930s and up to present day, showing that contemporary design is still used to regenerate these resorts.
All of the chosen structures are fine examples of their type. They have all been newly photographed as vibrant, well-used places to celebrate the resurgence of interest in the British seaside which has happened over the last two decades. The contemporary shelter at Bexhill brings the story right up to date.
Eastbourne Bandstand with its distinctive semi-circular design was opened in 1935 and still hosts well-attended concerts.
Tinside Lido, Plymouth, is a Grade II listed building and one of the best surviving 1930s Art Deco pools in the country.
Bangor Pier was built in the 1890s and was a landing stage for holiday-makers from Liverpool. The stamp shows one of the distinctive kiosks.
Southwold Lighthouse sits within the picturesque Suffolk town. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Trinity House, which operates lighthouses and aids to navigation in England and Wales.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach has countless attractions including the Casino building designed by Joseph Emberton and a nationally important modernist building which opened in 1939. Despite its name, it has never been used for gambling.
Bexhill-on-Sea Shelter is an eight-ton timber and steel cube on the West Parade, one of four modern shelters installed at the East Sussex resort.
Llandudno Pier is the longest pier in Wales and unusual in that it has two entrances. It is a fine example of a classic Victorian pier.
Dunoon Pier in Scotland still sees ships dock and is an interesting timber-framed late Victorian example.
Brighton Pier is the last surviving of the resorts three piers, and its helter-skelter is one of the best examples of its type in the country.
Worthing Pier’s amusement pavilion was built in the 1930s on the Victorian structure, demonstrating how many piers evolved over the decades.
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Royal Mail will issue a landmark series of Special Stamps each year from 2014 to 2018 to commemorate the Great War. The set will feature 30 stamps, with six being produced each year. The first set of stamps was issued in July this year. The public can register their interest in the stamps by visiting www.royalmail.com/firstworldwar
The stamp series has been designed to be as wide-ranging and inclusive as possible. It will feature a collection of subjects including the contribution of the armed services, the role of the Commonwealth Countries and non-combatants and women.
The stories of the War will be told through imagery including historic Memorials, artefacts that have become synonymous with the conflict, portraits of some of the participants, art showing some of the famous and moving scenes of the conflict, and newly-commissioned artworks of poppies – the symbol of Remembrance – from leading artists such as Fiona Strickland.
The 2014 set features the following:
Poppy- Original artwork by Fiona Strickland, the Scottish born and Edinburgh based leading botanical artist. She is a member of the Royal Society of Botanical Artists and considered among the leading contemporary botanical artists.
War Poetry– Lines from the poem, ‘For the Fallen’ by Lawrence Binyon. First published in The Times on 21 September 1914, ‘For the Fallen’ is the poet’s response to the first few weeks of the War. It is familiar through its recitation at Remembrance ceremonies in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Binyon volunteered for hospital work in France during the War. Royal Mail commissioned a letter-cutter to engrave a section of the poem into stone. This was then photographed and the image used on the stamp.
War Art- ‘A Star Shell’’ by CRW Nevinson. The image is of a flare that illuminated no man’s land. Nevinson is widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the Great War, with paintings in the collection of Tate Britain and Imperial War Museums. The artwork is on display at Tate Britain.
Portrait- Private William Tickle, who enlisted on 7 September 1914, and served in the 9th Battallion, Essex Regiment. He was accepted despite being under age (15 on enlisting). He served until he was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. This is one of thousands of photographs donated to the Imperial War Museum shortly after the war’s end in response to pleas to send images of those who had died.
Memorial – ‘The Response’, a bronze memorial by Welsh artist Sir William Goscombe John, represents the raising of several companies of the Northumberland Fusiliers and depicts the men joining up in 1914. The memorial is located in a public park in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Artefact– Princess Mary Gift Box. In October 1914, the Christmas Gift Fund was launched by Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. The purpose was to provide everyone wearing the King’s uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day 1914 with a ‘gift from the nation’. The result was the production of an embossed brass box, which contained a Christmas card and a picture of the Princess along with gifts. Servicemen at the front or at sea who were smokers received a pipe, an ounce of tobacco, cigarettes and a tinder lighter. Non-smokers received a packet of sweets and a writing case with pencil, paper and envelopes.
Royal Mail is an official First World War Centenary Partner with the Imperial War Museum.
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The following theme plans use greeting cards as the stimulus for a range of cross-curricular activities that have relevance for children aged 5 to 11 throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Through participating in the activities children will have the opportunity to:
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The purpose of these materials is to raise awareness amongst students not only of the importance of enterprise education but also of the innate talents they already have in this increasingly important area of lifelong learning. Enterprise education is a key learning outcome of the statutory requirement to deliver work-related learning at KS4. The core capabilities of enterprise, financial, business and economic understanding are well illustrated by Royal Mail: an organisation that has had to respond to a changing world for longer than most. A passion for effective communication in all its forms underpins the organisation. For that reason this project encompasses a wide range of interrelated skills, from functional literacy to thinking and learning strategies essential to independent, risk-taking and enterprising attitudes.
These materials offer a flexible and adaptable package of support to those schools wishing to launch or extend their current provision for enterprise education. They may be used in a variety of ways and with students of KS3 to KS4.
The Lead Lessons are based around a series of awareness-raising exercises. They can all be used as preparation to the main day’s activities and should be selectively employed according to the perceived needs of the pupils.
A practical activity to help pupils focus on working together and assigning roles.
Learning how to approach problems and develop flexible thinking using different perspectives.
Helping pupils select appropriate choices from a range of options and match audience and purpose.
A practical activity where pupils learn how to accept change and manage it effectively.
An activity to help students develop skills in comparing and evaluating different options.
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