Issue Date - 13th October 2011
It's time to take a fresh perspective on what's around us with this 26-stamp odyssey around the UK - alphabetically! For each letter of the alphabet an iconic landmark of the UK is assigned, ranging from ancient to modern and from spiritual to spectacular; but each has an essential presence in the nation's fabric.
The stamp policy team extensively researched UK gazetteers and drew up the list of potential subjects which were supplied to the designer. Using a mixture of specially commissioned and library photography the final line up was assembled and agreed taking into consideration the need to represent each of the four countries of the UK.
The first part of this alphabetical journey covers letters A to L, starting with 'A' for Angel of the North. The second part of the set representing letters M to Z will follow in April 2012. We expect both issues to be extremely popular and hopefully will be an appealing souvenir for those visitors to the UK over the coming year.
1st Class - Angel of the North
The Angel of the North is a contemporary steel sculpture designed by Antony Gormley, which is located just outside Gateshead. Standing 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with wings measuring 54 metres (177 ft) across, the wings are angled 3.5º forward to create "a sense of embrace". It stands on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell, overlooking the A1 and A167 roads into Tyneside and the East Coast Main Line rail route, south of the site of Team Colliery
1st Class – Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower is a tourist attraction in Blackpool, Lancashire. It was opened to the public on 14 May 1894. Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it rises to 158m (518 ft 9 inches). The Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. The tower can be seen from most places within a 30-mile (48 km) radius including Barrow-in-Furness, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Chorley and Southport. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
1st Class – Carrick-a-Rede
The rope suspension bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, near Ballintoy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland was originally built by salmon fishermen.The bridge links the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island and is owned and maintained by the National Trust, it spans twenty metres and is thirty metres above the rocks below. Today the bridge is a year round tourist attraction, with 247,000 visitors in 2009.
1st Class – Downing Street
Probably the most famous front door in the world 10 Downing Street is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister. The townhouse, from which the modern building gets its name, was one of several built by Sir George Downing between 1682 and 1684. In 1732, George II offered the property to Sir Robert Walpole who accepted on the condition that they were a gift to the office of First Lord of the Treasury rather than to him personally.
1st Class – Edinburgh Castle
Dominating the skyline of Edinburgh, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock, There has been a royal castle here since the reign of David I in the 12th century. The site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. As one of the most important fortresses in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle has been involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions. From the later 17th century, the castle became a military base, with a large garrison. Its importance as a historic monument was recognised from the 19th century, and various restoration programmes have been carried out since.
1st Class – Forth Railway Bridge
The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, to the east of the Forth Road Bridge, and 14 kilometres (9 miles) west of central Edinburgh. It was opened on 4 March 1890. It is often called the Forth Rail Bridge or Forth Railway Bridge to distinguish it from the Forth Road Bridge although it has been called the "Forth Bridge" since its construction and had for over seventy years the sole claim to this name.
1st Class – Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor is a hill at Glastonbury, Somerset, which features the roofless St. Michael's Tower. The site is managed by the National Trust and has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument . Tor is a local word of Celtic origin meaning 'rock outcropping' or 'hill'. The Tor has a striking location in the middle of a plain called the Summerland Meadows, part of the Somerset Levels. The plain is reclaimed fenland out of which the Tor once rose like an island, but now, with the surrounding flats, is a peninsula washed on three sides by the River Brue. The remains of Glastonbury Lake Village nearby were identified in 1892, showing that there was an Iron Age settlement about 300–200 BC on what was an easily defended island in the fens. The spot seems to have been called Ynys yr Afalon (meaning "The Isle of Avalon") by the Ancient Britons, and it is believed by some to be the Avalon of Arthurian legend.
1st Class – Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle, located in Harlech, Gwynedd, Wales, is a concentric castle, constructed atop a cliff close to the Irish Sea. Architecturally, it is particularly notable for its massive gatehouse. Built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales, the castle was subject to several assaults and sieges during its period of active use as a fortification. The castle served as the de facto capital of an independent Wales between 1404 and 1409 when it was held by Owain Glyndwr. The later seven-year siege of the castle, during the Wars of the Roses, has been memorialised in the famous song "Men of Harlech".
1st Class – Ironbridge
Ironbridge is a village on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Ironbridge developed beside, and takes its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30 metre (100 ft) cast iron bridge that was built across the river there in 1779. The bridge was the first cast iron arch bridge in the world.
1st Class – Jodrell Bank
For over 50 years the giant Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank has been a familiar feature of the Cheshire landscape and an internationally renowned landmark in the world of astronomy. Since the summer of 1957 it has been quietly probing the depths of space, a symbol of our wish to understand the universe in which we live. Even now, it remains one of the biggest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world, spending most of its time investigating cosmic phenomena which were undreamed of when it was conceived.
1st Class – Kursaal
The Kursaal went into decline in the 1970s, when more people took holidays abroad. The land was sold off for building development, and in 1973 the Kursaal amusement park was closed down and in the 1986 the building finally closed. Following many years of dereliction the Kursaal building was reopened in 1998 after a multi-million pound redevelopment and restoration, It is now a listed building, forming part of the Kursaal conservation area.
1st Class – Lindisfarne Priory
Lindisfarne is a tidal island off England’s north-east coast. It is also known as Holy Island. The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded by Irish born Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald ca. AD 635. It became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. The priory was abandoned in the late ninth century because of persistent Viking raids.
UK A-Z Part 1 Stamp Set - Technical Details:
|Number of stamps||Twelve|
|Design||Robert Maude and Sarah Davies|
|Acknowledgements||Antony Gormley Angel of the North [Gateshead] © the artist, photography © Chris Addis; Blackpool Tower, Jodrell Bank, Kursaal and Lindisfarne Priory photography © Charlie Waite; Carrick-a-Rede, Downing Street, Edinburgh Castle, Glastonbury Tor, Harlech Castle and Ironbridge photography © David Noton Photography; Forth Railway Bridge photography © Joe Cornish|
|Stamp Size||35mm x 35mm|
|Printer||Cartor Security Printing, Meaucé, France|
|Number per Sheet||30/60|
|Perforations||14.5 x 14.5|
The stamp policy team extensively researched UK gazetteers and drew up the list of potential subjects. Using a mix of commissioned and library photography the final line up was assembled and agreed considering the need to represent each of the four countries of the UK. The stamps are issued in two sheets of 30 stamps featuring six se-tenant stamps in each row.
First Day Covers
The First Day Cover was designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies with copy by Simon Calder, travel editor of the Independent. BLACKPOOL is the special handstamp place name, chosen because it is the location of one of the attractions featured in the issue. There are two First Day Covers for this issue one featuring the stamps A to F, the other featuring the stamps G to L. The cover envelope and filler card are identical for each set.
The lavishly illustrated presentation pack contains the twelve UK A – Z Part 1 stamps. Within the pack Simon Calder, the travel editor of the Independent takes a tour of the attractions shown in the stamp issue. The pack was designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies.
Twelve postcards bearing enlarged images of each of the UK A – Z Part 1 stamps go on sale about a week before the stamp issue date.