Published on February 11th, 2015 | by Sarah Jubb
Stamping A Mark On The 1960s
The 1960s is a famous era for many reasons for the UK; the rise of the Beatles, the start of Top of the Pops and the very first appearance of Doctor Who. But it also marked the beginning of a tradition that has continued for decades, the Royal Mail Special Stamps.
It was in 1965 that Postmaster General Tony Benn created the criteria to modernise the UK’s stamp design. With the help of designer David Gentleman, the first special stamp set issued depicted Winston Churchill to honour him after his death in January of the same year.
Multiple stamp sets followed this throughout the remainder of the decade, and the aim of the stamps was to commemorate various British achievements across a number of themes including culture, art, sport and technology.
Perhaps one of the most important sporting events in English history remains the victory of England in the 1966 Football World Cup. The Royal Mail had originally released a series of stamps to promote the World Cup, and once England were crowned world champions, the title ‘England Winners’ was quickly added and set to print.
The 1960s is also associated with the scientific and technological achievements that were made during that decade; in particular the 1969 Apollo 11 spaceflight that saw humans reach the moon for the first time. The Royal Mail celebrated 1969 instead with the first flight of Concorde, the British and French supersonic plane that captured the minds of millions for decades.
Concorde was not the only British technological achievement that was honoured in the 1960s; Royal Mail also released many stamp sets that showcased British inventions such as the jet engine, radar and 100 years since the discovery of antiseptic surgery. This year in 2015, the Royal Mail will be once more celebrating the success of Britain’s inventions with a new stamp series titled ‘Inventive Britain’.
On the subject of inventive Britain, an interesting fact about postage stamps in the UK is that they are the only stamps in the world that do not have to put their country’s name of origin on the stamp. Instead, the image of the Queen’s head makes it known that the stamp originated from Great Britain. This is because Britain is the inventor of the original postage stamp, the Penny Black and as a result of this Britain is the only country that is exempt from having to have its name on postage stamps.