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Bath has played a vital role in the development of communications, and improving the British postal service. It can thus boast many "firsts" as you will discover when you visit this fascinating museum.
Bath Postal Museum was founded in 1979 by Audrey and Harold Swindells and was originally situated in the basement of their house at 51 Great Pulteney Street. 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. However, by 1984 the original premises had become rather overcrowded when a wonderful opportunity arose – the entire building at 8 Broad Street became vacant.
This was the site of Bath's main Post Office from 1822 to 1854: the very place where the first recorded posting of a Penny Black took place on 2 May 1840 – four days ahead of the official date! The building belonged to Bath City Council who kindly granted a subsidised lease to the museum. After much fundraising, the ground floor display was opened at the end of 1985 by celebrity Friends Richard Briers and Leslie Crowther; the Queen Mother sent a greeting by pigeon!