Sunday 9 April 2017

The Bath Postal Museum...

The Bath Postal Museum is another delightful Bath gem that would probably get missed on a weekend visit-if you didn't know it was there.

You'll find the entrance to the Museum downstairs, just inside the entrance to the existing Post Office. To enable accessibility for those in a wheelchair or with limited mobility, there's a stair lift.

Considering how much there is too see, it's been thoughtfully laid out to make the most of the space; and for children there's fun things to do too.

I knew a bit about mail coaches and what they looked like, and also about turnpikes from research for the first novel I tried writing, but there was so much more I didn't know.

For example the mail went to and from London along six routes, until Ralph Allen, the Postmaster of Bath, began an expansion with cross routes.

By later in the century Mail Coaches became a necessity, fast, efficient and they had a guard to protect them.

1.8 Scale Model of John Palmer's Trial Coach
built by Ronald Stiff of Aylesbury

My favourite item in the museum was being able to listen to the different horn calls that were used during the mail coach journey; there were various warning calls: to the passengers to get aboard, to alert the inn to get the horses ready, the turnpikes open, and when they finally arrived at their destination among them. Each slightly different, but you can hear the echoes of future military bugle calls.

The horn to signal...

The display of Post Boxes certainly reminded me of a few from my childhood. Did you know how many types there have been? There's a few on this link.

This is the post box in Laura Place, and there's another on Great Pultney Street, both are hexagonal, the 'New Standard Letter Box', designed by J.W Penfold in the 1860's.

Laura Place Hexagonal
Post Box...

I've only chosen a couple of items to show you, but there's so much more to see and discover...


Teresa Ashby said...

What a great museum and the stair lift is a wonderful idea so no one needs miss out. I had no idea there had been so many different post boxes or that there were different horn calls. Lovely post!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Fantastic museum, Carol - I definitely need a visit to Bath for at least a weekend! Thanks for sharing this.

Wendy's Writing said...

I didn't even know Bath had a postal museum! I can see I'm going to struggle to fit everything into my day and a half there.

Carolb said...

Teresa- thank you. I didn't realise how many types of post-box there had been either, as I assumed they were either small or standard. The museum had a couple of green wall post boxes on display too.

Rosemary- to see everything you really need a week. Though the Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms is just around the corner from The Circus, and just beyond that is the Royal Crescent, so within easy reach of one another. It's then only a short walk to the Jane Austen Centre. But it's all good exercise. :-)

Wendy- the museum was originally in the building where letters first went from, but they had to move to their present location.
If you only have a day you need to plan your route in advance. :-)
The postal museum can be done in an hour if you're pushed for time. But honestly I think I still need a third visit to finish the other bits I didn't get too.