World Stamps

Britain's codebreaker post office to close

Mar 16, 2015, 4 AM

A British post office that formerly was the undercover mailroom of the World War II Engima codebreakers will close at the end of March, according to a press release from Terry Mitchell of the Bletchley Park post office.

Located in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, what would later become the post office started as a butler's quarters added around 1900 to the Bletchley Park mansion. In 1940, it served as an undercover mailroom. In 1947, it became a post office and then a gift shop in 1994 when Bletchley Park was opened as a museum to the public. In 2012, it was refurbished and officially opened by Michael Sefi, keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, according to the press release. 

The Bletchly Park post office created first-day covers for British stamps, and also issued its own customized (also called personalized or "Smilers") stamp panes.

The release continues, "But new management at Bletchley Park have decided it is no longer 'core to the codebreaking story.' It is the last of the private collections to leave Bletchley Park."

The post office was staffed by volunteers, with Bletchley Stamp Art providing administration and financial support. Bletchley Park is run by the Bletchley Park Trust, a charity formed in 1992 to preserve the site for the nation.

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Bletchely Park and its codebreaking history are represented on a few British stamps, most recently on stamps in the Inventive Britain issue of Feb. 19. Also, a 2012 Britons of Distinction stamp honors codebreaker Alan Turing (Scott 3005) and another stamp from 2012 shows Station X at Bletchley Park (Scott 2871). That stamp is part of a set showcasing landmarks of Great Britain in alphabetical order, A-Z.

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