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Tony Benn

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Tony BennEarlier in March this year, British politician Tony Benn passed away, aged 88. Benn served as Postmaster General in the Labour Party government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1964-66) and was instrumental in establishing the National Postal Museum, which closed in 1998. This was the predecessor of what is now the British Postal Museum and Archive.

There are many things that he was instrumental in introducing during his period in office that he will be remembered for, including overseeing the building of the Post Office Tower (then the tallest building in the UK)

post office tower stampset

complete with a rooftop revolving restaurant, introduction of the Post Bus service which still provides a combination of passenger and postal services to remote regions in Britain, creation of the Girobank and overseeing the introduction of postcodes in the UK.

Possibly the most famous and controversial action when Postmaster General, however, was his attempt to remove the Queen’s head from postage stamps.

Commemorative stamp

This met with private opposition from the Queen. Thus, the portrait was reduced to a small profile in silhouette, a format that is still used on commemorative stamps.

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