Issued on April 10, 2012.
Royal Mail’s alphabetical journey around UK landmarks, which began with the letters A to L in October last year, concludes with the letters M to Z on April 10.
Comprising no fewer than 14 1st class stamps, this is Britain’s biggest single special stamp issue to date.
The stamps are being issued in three sheets of 30: one has the designs from M to R in se-tenant strips of six, another has S to X in se-tenant strips of six, and the third has Y and Z in se-tenant pairs; this arrangement also makes vertical strips of each individual design available.
Designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davies, the set was printed by Cartor in litho.
Ten of the featured locations are in England, two in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.
Although some sites deserve stamps, the series is an excuse for pretty pictures
QUALITY OF DESIGN
The set is bright and colourful, but it’s simply about well-chosen photographs
Individual stamps might stop people in their tracks if used in their local area
1st class Manchester Town Hall
One of Britain’s greatest municipal buildings, this Victorian neo-Gothic design by architect Alfred Waterhouse in 1877 features imposing murals by the artist Ford Madox Brown depicting the history of the city.
1st class Narrow Water Castle
Built in the 1560s, this fortification on the County Down bank of the Clanrye River near Warrenpoint is typical of the tower houses constructed in Ireland from the 14th to the 17th centuries.
1st class Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court of England is commonly known after the street in which it stands in London. Designed by E W Mountford and opened in 1907, it has a bronze statue of Lady Justice on its dome.
1st class Portmeirion
Designed and built in the Italianate style by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, this tourist village in Gwynedd most famously served as the location for the 1960s television series The Prisoner.
1st class The Queen’s College, Oxford
Founded in 1341, and named after Queen Philippa, the wife of King Edward III, this Oxford College has medieval foundations but is renowned for its 18th-century architecture by the famous Nicholas Hawksmoor.
1st class Roman Baths
Britain’s best-preserved Roman site for public bathing gave its name to the city of Bath. The baths themselves are several metres below the modern street level, and associated visitor attractions are the Sacred Spring, Roman Temple and Grand Pump Room.
1st class Stirling Castle
One of the largest castles in Scotland was built on a crag guarding what was the furthest downstream crossing of the
River Forth. It has suffered at least eight sieges, the last being by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746.
1st class Tyne Bridge
This arched bridge over the River Tyne links the city of Newcastle with the town of Gateshead. Designed by the Middlesborough firm of Mott, Hay & Anderson, at the time of its opening in 1928 it was the world’s longest single-span bridge.
1st class Urquhart Castle
Built on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, this was one of the largest strongholds in Scotland. A castle existed on this site from the early 13th century, but it was largely destroyed in 1692 by troops opposing Jacobite rebels.
1st class Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A in South Kensington, London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of nearly five million objects. Named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, it was founded in 1852.
1st class White Cliffs of Dover
This cliff face of white chalk with streaks of black flint reaches 107m (350ft) in height on the Kent coast. It is of great symbolic value as it faces across the English Channel, where invasions have historically been threatened. It is also the first sight of Britain for many travellers from the continent arriving by sea.
1st class Station X, Bletchley Park
This was the secret radio intercept station at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the site of Britain’s codebreaking centre during World War II. From a tiny room in the roof of the mansion, MI6 communicated with its agents across the world.
1st class York Minster
One of the largest and finest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, this limestone edifice was largely constructed between 1230 and 1472, but sits on a site which has been used for worship since 627.
1st class ZSL London Zoo
Named after the Zoological Society of London, this is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, established in Regent’s Park in 1828 and opened to the public in 1847. The stamp shows the Snowdon Aviary, built in 1962-64.
The presentation pack has to display the last two stamps on the back as there is not enough room for all 14 on the front. For a similar reason, two different first day covers are available, along with the usual stamp cards.
A composite sheet is also being made available through philatelic channels, bringing together all 26 stamps from parts one and two of the series, along with four labels showing the seats of government of the four countries of the UK.
Set of 14 stamps £6.44
Presentation pack £6.95
Stamp cards £6.30
First day envelope £0.30
First day cover (M-S) £3.79
First day cover (T-Z) £4.89
Composite sheet £11.96
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