World War living history lesson for Ironbridge

Visit a Pop-up First World War Field Post Office at Colalbrookdale.

During half-term from Tuesday 28th until Thursday 30th October, you can visit a Pop-up First World War Field Post Office at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, adjacent to Enginuity in Ironbridge. See real stories of First World War postal workers brought to life and take part in theatre performances. You can discover original wartime letters and objects, write, send and censor your own letter and discover how pigeons were used to send secret messages.

Often little more than a table in a field, sometimes just a tent, or a temporary structure Field Post Offices provided a vital link between the home and fighting fronts by distributing the letters and parcels sent to soldiers from loved ones.

The Pop-up Field Post Office is based on photographs from the British Postal Museum & Archive and will be filled with original First World War objects, which visitors can touch and explore.

Visitors will discover the essential role played by the General Post Office in the First World War with a spotlight on the stories of Shropshire postal workers. Tens of thousands of postal workers fought in the First World War, with 12,000 joining the Post Office’s own battalion, the Post Office Rifles. Women stepped into the jobs left by men and telegram messenger boys as young as 14 delivered news of the fallen to families across the UK.

Everyone can participate in bringing poignant personal stories of postal workers to life with the Big Wheel Theatre Company and be encouraged to write and send their own postcard at the Field Post Office to experience how people communicated in war time.

The Pop-Up Field Post Office is open Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th October, 11am-3pm. It is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund First World War Then and Now fund. The project supports the Last Post: Remembering the First World War exhibition on display Monday- Friday in Coalbrookdale until March 2015.

Sally Sculthorpe, Learning Officer at the BPMA said, “The Pop-Up Field Post Office enables visitors to make a personal connection to the First World War and the experience of communicating by letter in war time”.

The British Postal Museum & Archive looks after over 400 years of Britain’s social and communications history. It is currently working to build a new national museum. The Postal Museum, located in Central London, will reveal the extraordinary stories of this iconic service through engaging exhibitions and a unique underground rail ride.

For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).