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Great Britain’s Royal Mail Features Ships That Have Carried the Mail

17 Feb 2018  Sat

A new self-adhesive postage label from Great Britain’s Royal Mail depicts a picture of a generic New York City skyline of the 1930s. The label is part of a set of six designs, focusing on the theme of mail by sea.

Issued Feb. 14, Mail by Sea is the fourth set in the Royal Mail Heritage series with the theme of mail transportation. The previous three sets in the series were Transport (Feb. 17, 2016), Mail by Rail (Feb. 15, 2017), and Mail by Air (Sept. 13, 2017).

Royal Mail calls such labels “post & go.” The service inscriptions are printed at the time of purchase.

The label depicting the New York City skyline pays respect to RMS Queen Mary, which made its maiden voyage on 27th May 1936. In announcing the new post & go labels, Royal Mail said that with the advent of Queen Mary, mail could be transported from England to New York in less than four days.

This flagship of the Cunard Line transported more than the mail.

In July 1947, Queen Mary returned to passenger service, after serving as a troop ship during World War II. Twenty years later, Queen Mary made its last voyage, arriving in Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 6, 1967, where it remains as a floating hotel, attraction, and event and wedding venue.

The other five labels cover more than 200 years in sea mail history, from the packet Antelope in 1780 to RMS St. Helena in 1990.

The French captured the Antelope twice, once in 1781 and then in 1783. The packet’s crew successfully fought off the French privateer Atalanta.

Among other awards, the crew was praised for the “successful protection of the mail” by postmaster general of the United Kingdon, Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield.

The other three labels depict SS Great Western, 1838; SS Britannia, 1887; and RMS Olympic, 1911.

The Great Western was designed by engineer Isambard Brunel and was tagged as the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. In 1847, this steamship was sold to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. The passenger liner Britannia set a record in November 1887, carrying the mail from Brindisi, Italy, to Adelaide, Australia, in 23 days and 10 hours.

The sister ship to RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic was the largest British-built passenger ship in regular service before the introduction of Queen Mary. Like the Titanic, Olympic included a dedicated post office and mail room.

Royal Mail Group Ltd. designed the labels. International Security Printers printed them by gravure. Each label measures 56 millimeters by 25mm.

If anyone wants to get their hands on these postage labels, they can get it at terminals in post office branches throughout the United Kingdom.

The terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packages, pay the postage, and print the appropriate label.

Image Courtesy Royal Mail