Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Piers Proms and Pavilions: Seaside Architecture - 18 September 2014

The seaside town evolved as a place where the visitor could find a fantasy environment and enjoy entertainments that could not be found elsewhere.

The Seaside Architecture stamps and miniature sheet are issued on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the founding of Trinity House, the body responsible for all UK lighthouses and lightships. (wikipedia, official site)  The first pier in the UK was completed at Ryde on the Isle of Wight on 26 July 1814, so celebrating it's 200th anniversary this year.

The Eastbourne Bandstand 1st class stamp, with its brass band, includes the
EUROPA logo, which is Royal Mail's nod to the Post-Europ 2014 theme of 'National musical instruments'.

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Set of 6 stamps showing Seaside architecture. 
1st class - Eastbourne Bandstand - Tinside Lido, Plymouth
97p - Bangor Pier - Southwold Lighthouse
£1.28 - Casino, Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Bexhill-on-Sea Shelter
Miniature sheet of 4 stamps depicting seasode piers. 

British Piers: 1st class: Llandudno, £1.28 Dunoon
£1.28 Brighton Palace Pier, 1st class Worthing


The seaside holiday is a British invention. Scarborough has the honour of being the world’s first seaside resort and is also the location of the first recorded use of the ‘bathing machine’ (1735). It was in the 18th century that visits to the seaside for the health effects of the sea air became fashionable with the wealthy. Getting to the coast though could pose a problem with the choice of expensive stage coaches or slow sailing vessels.

The first piers arose as a solution to reaching these seaside watering places. The first (Ryde Pier, on the Isle of Wight, 1814) was simply a platform to make getting on and off boats easier. With the growth in reliable steam-driven vessels and regular services to places like Margate and Weymouth, piers became the alternative to wading through water or being carried ashore from the boats.

This stamp issue captures the spirit of the seaside experience through the buildings and structures that are exclusive to, or very distinctive of, the UK’s resorts, which were designed for the pleasure of the visitor. The structures represent the key time periods of seaside development including: Victorian, Art Deco, Modernism of 1930s and up to present day, showing that contemporary  architecture/design is being used to regenerate these resorts.

The chosen selection captures distinctive types of seaside architecture from key periods when major investment led to innovation, in particular the late Victorian era and interwar years. There is a good range of resort type - large and small, well-known and less so - from the number one working-class resort of Blackpool to the more sedate Southwold which has grown in popularity as a result of its quiet nostalgic feel. All of the chosen structures are fine examples of their type and the fact that they have been newly photographed as vibrant, well-used places helps celebrate the resurgence of interest in the British seaside which has happened over the last two decades. The contemporary shelter at Bexhill (much criticised locally) brings the story right up to date.

The stamps in detail

Eastbourne Bandstand – a unique mid-1930s semi-circular design from the Art Deco period but also with a hint of the Orientalism that had been a distinctive feature of seaside architecture since construction the of the Brighton Pavilion. In the days before recorded music and radio, bandstands were to be found at all resorts.

Tinside Lido, Plymouth – One of the best surviving lidos in the country and recently renovated. Built in a Modernist style that really captures the latest fashions of the interwar period, especially outdoor recreation and sunbathing.

Bangor Pier - Piers represent the great engineering feats achieved in seaside architecture but the Victorians also exploited cast iron in smaller structures that have come to define the seaside atmosphere. The kiosk on Bangor Pier is a great Victorian example on a Welsh pier.

Southwold Lighthouse – Tying in with the Trinity House 500th anniversary in 2014, the lighthouse in the middle of Southwold is one of the symbols of a town that represents a resurgence of seaside popularity based on traditional ‘bucket-and-spade’ activities, but where the purchase price of a beach-hut on the prom could set you back £100,000.

Casino, Blackpool Pleasure Beach – a nationally important example of Modernist architecture and one in which architect Joseph Emberton captured the playfulness of the seaside environment. From its start in the 1890s the Pleasure Beach came into its own during the interwar years and this structure is arguably the culmination of its 1930s revamp.

Bexhill-on-Sea Shelter – innovative contemporary architecture has been a major driver of regeneration at the seaside and even seemingly ephemeral structures like shelters can make a big impact on the overall feel of an otherwise traditional promenade. Bexhill-on-Sea has managed to blend a Victorian seafront with iconic 1930s architecture and new 21st-century shelters.

British Piers Miniature Sheet

Llandudno – a classic and well-maintained Victorian pier which is the longest in Wales. Great view of the entertainment pavilion with decorative cast iron in the foreground

Dunoon – Scottish example which is still in use by ships like the steamer Waverley. The late Victorian building with its rather domestic-looking timber framed gables is an unusual survival

– the last surviving of Brighton’s three Victorian piers, still really popular and with a considerable entertainment offer that includes one of the best helter skelters around the coast

- distinctive 1935 amusements pavilion on a Victorian pier – shows how piers have evolved and links back into interwar structures of main set of stamps.

A background image allows for the full impact of Britain’s longest pier at Southend.

Technical details:
The 41 x 30 mm stamps were designed by Why Not Associates using photography by Lee Mawdsley. The perf 14½ x 14 stamps are printed by  International Security Printers in Lithography.  The PVA-gummed stamps are printed in sheets of 25/50.
The 115 x 89 mm Miniature Sheet was designed by Why Not Associates using photography by Lee Mawdsley, and contains 41 x 30 mm stamps printed by Joh Enschede. 

All stamp images Royal Mail ©2014 reproduced with permission.

Products available from Royal Mail

Set of 6 stamps, miniature sheet.  Presentation Pack containing set and miniature sheet 

Set of 11 stamp cards  Two First Day Covers    A Coin cover to mark the 500th Anniversary of Trinity House will also be available, with the Lowestoft Lighthouse postmark shown below.

Special first day of issue postmarks will be shown here. These cannot be obtained after the date of issue; more may be added. Not always to scale.

Postmark showing a bandstand.
Postmark with text as below. 
Stampex first day postmark for Seaside Architecture stamps.
Postmarks illustrated with Helter-Skelter and Pier Railway.
Ref FD1418TH
Official Bureau postmark
Ref FD1418PL
Eastbourne official first day of issue postmark with text 'Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside'
Ref L13204 Autumn Stampex first day of issue
postmark for Seaside Architecture Stamps
Ref L13182
Brighton East Sussex
Ref L13183
Southend on Sea, Essex

Postmarks showing seaside piers and lighthouse.

Postmark showing cliff railway.

Postmark showing top of Lowestofrt Lighthouse.

Ref L13205
Brighton (showing Palace Pier)
Ref L13206
Southwold (showing lighthouse)
Ref L13207
Worthing (showing pier)
Ref N13212 Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Ref L13180 500th Anniversary of Trinity House, Lowestoft
Non-pictorial first day of issue postmark Eastbourne.
Postmark with text as shown.
Postmark showing fairground roller-coaster.
Birmingham pPostmark showing seaside pier.
Ref FD1418NP Eastbourne
Ref N13221 Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton, Wallasey, GBFDC Assoc. Ref N13213 Blackpool Ref M13187 Birmingham  *See list of 10 below table *

*Postmarks in this style will be available with the following Reference Numbers:

13181 Eastbourne, 13199 Worthing, 13200 Brighton, 13201 Southwold, 13202 Bexhill-on-Sea - all from the London Handstamp Centre
13214 Blackpool - from the North of England Handstamp Centre;   13216 Dunoon - from the Scotland & NI Handstamp Centre
13220 Plymouth, 13223 Bangor, 13224 Llandudno - all from the Wales & West Handstamp Centre

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This page created 24 August 2014.

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