The local museum that keeps you posted!

Bath’s Central Post Office may soon be moving to a future home but the city’s postal past is staying where it it.

Confused? Well, that means you haven’t discovered the historical delights to be found in the basement of 27 Northgate Street.

A taste of what’s to come at Bath’s Postal Museum.

It’s where you will find the  Bath Postal Museum – and where it has been since 1986 when it gave up a nearby street level address at number 8 Broad Street. That was also the site of Bath’s main post office from 1822 to 1854.

The Great Pulteney Street basement – in which Bath Postal Museum was born.

Prior to that the museum was situated in another basement – at the home of its founders – Audrey and Harold Swindells –  in Great Pulteney Street. Where, despite its small beginnings, the museum was a success from the word go and got a favourable mention in the Sunday Times Good Museum Guide in its first year.

The entrance to the Bath Postal Museum basement is just inside the Post Office and down a flight of stairs.

The attraction has now been sharing the entrance to its current home with the central post office since 2004.

A replica mail coach heralded the museum’s re-opening. On board was Lord Bath, Richard Briers CBE, Sir Terry Prachett 0BE, and the man at the back with the coach horn is Martin Horler from Kilmersdon – who turned up today wearing a Penny Black tie!
Martin Horler with his Penny Black tie. Martin takes part in coaching displays – dressed in all his coachman finery – and is a dab hand at blowing all the original musical messages that were used via the coaching horn. You can see him in action next at the Royal Windsor Show on May 10th.

While the Royal Mail may soon be on the move, the museum has still got seven years of its lease to run and is staying put.

Dressed in Royal Mail red. Audrey Swindells MBE in the centre of some of her guests at the museum today. Amongst the Museum’s supporters – and having popped down from her job behind the desk at the Post Office above – is Judith Cambridge. Judith road on that horse-drawn coach we saw earlier!

Audrey – who has a MBE by the way –  has held a belated festive gathering at the museum for volunteers and supporters. She’d been poorly over Christmas but was fighting fit today to welcome her guests.

I had a chance to talk to Nick Lennard who is both a trustee and treasurer of the Postal Museum. I wanted to know whether there was a difference between stage and mail coaches back in the day when the postal service really did depend on horsepower!

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Meanwhile, the museum is collaborating with the Museum of Bath at Work to present some special historical post-themed films at the Julian Road site.screenshot 2019-01-28 at 09.08.33


On March 6th at 12.30 pm – The Public Address: The GPO’s Postal Service –  a GPO Film Unit production on the postal service.

On April 10th at 12.30 pm – ‘The Fairy of the Phone’ – another GPO Film Unit production on telephones and telegrams.

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Finally, on May 8th at 12.30 pm – The Saving of the Post Office! Post Office Savings Bank – a GPO Film Unit production on the Post Office Savings Bank and other subjects.

These are all Wednesday lunchtimes and the Museum of Bath at Work will ensure that there is a light lunch available. The charge is £5 per head.