Thursday, 1 November 2018

New Philatelic Counter in London from 2019! (Update on Trafalgar Square)

As mentioned in August, thanks to our reader C, the 'Trafalgar Square' Post Office in King William IV Street London will close during December (date to be announced.)


This means that there is no comprehensive stockist of Royal Mail collectable stamps in Post Offices in the central London.  I'm sure there is a comment here somewhere that Eastcheap (City of London) PO no longer has a dedicated philatelic counter (comments aren't searchable in the same way that the blog is).  However poor Trafalgar Square may have been on occasion, it was always better than nothing, which is what we will have now.

I have suggested to Royal Mail philatelic that they could perhaps have a retail unit at the Postal Museum: of course it wasn't designed with that in mind, so that would probably be difficult to achieve.   Does anybody have any other suggestions?  

UPDATE 28 November.
DF has sent me this further notice which indicates that the Philatelic services will be transferred to Broadway PO, SW1H 0AX, which is about a mile away.  




14 comments:

  1. When Trafalgar Square underwent refurbishment many years ago Aldwych and High Holborn offered a philatelic counter.

    Interesting that the Trafalgar Square closure letter makes no mention of High Holborn (Mon-Fri). It only references Aldwych (Mon-Fri) and Broadway (St. James) (Crown hours) Crown offices. New Oxford Street (24/7) & Poland Street (Soho) are ‘Locals’ and Lower Regents Street is a ‘Main’.

    From your Friday, 25 August 2017 post, The Galleries has been announced as being franchised to WHSmith in March 2019. Cambridge City, Chester, Colchester, City of Cardiff, City of Exeter, Harrogate, Trowbridge and York are among the next batch of Crown/DMB offices to go to WHSmith. Leaving Colchester (Essex), Croydon (London), Grimsby (Lincolnshire), Portsmouth (Hampshire) and Stroud (Gloucestershire).

    Should pressure not be put on Royal Mail to ensure their products are available through their ‘tied’ outlet, The Post Office?

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  2. Aldwych appears to have room for a Philatelic counter, so does Borough High St - not so sure that High Holborn does. But opening times is also a factor - both of those close at 5.30pm whereas Trafalgar Square is open later. Being able to pop in on the way home from work is desirable for some I'm sure.

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  3. Our main Post Office in Fareham which is located in W.H.Smiths is now being transferred over to W.H.Smith to fully manage.

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  4. I read of this with dismay. It was the only place I could buy English 2nd class definitives. However when I called in on Saturday I wondered what was up because they had none at all. And Ian is right about block buster issues. Trafalgar Square would not sell me any Harry Potter stamps individually: they sold out in less than a week at my local Crown office. Yet in the folder were sheaves of May's owl stamps. Fewer and fewer post offices will sell commemoratives at all and; as crown offices dwindle & philatelic offices like this one disappear it will soon be hardly possible to get any new stamps.

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  5. What about Mount Pleasant Post Office? It is a while since I was last there but at the time it was a pure Post Office and seemed to be part of the Royal Mail building. It is also fairly close to the Postal Museum who do not seem to have any Post Office trained people

    John embrey

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  6. No I very recently worked near to the Mount Pleasant post office branch and it's just the same as every other branch, nothing special because it's at Mount Pleasant. They are just as useless at selling special issues as anywhere else (not the fault of the staff mind you).

    The trouble with Mount Pleasant (and even more so the Postal Museum which is a couple of side streets away "round the back"), is that it is not particularly easy to get to ... it's 10-15 mins brisk walk from any tube station, or 12 or so stops on a bus from Holborn area. Trafalgar Square was as another poster points out, very so very central that it was easy to call in at after work. Indeed one time I asked my partner to call in and get what I wanted, on her way home from work.

    Stupid to not replace it, more of the Philatelic side of RM being super short sighted; they seem to be determined to make it harder than ever to collect their stamps, not withstanding the insane costs now too. Trafalgar Square was my solution to the Bureau's inability to reliably send issues out on the correct day in time for me to send them back for handstamping, so if Trafalgar Square is now going that may be the final straw that makes me give up collecting every new issue (which I've done since 1971).

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  7. Trafalgar Square Post Office closes for good at 1600 hrs 24/12/2018

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  8. Me too. Very sad. My go-to place after work for those cylinder retail booklets etc. and the philatelic staff knew what was what. It was like having a mini version of Tallents house/RM Stampex in central London all the time. When I spoke at the counter last week it sounds like the 'philatelic counter' will transfer somewhere else in central London at another post office so there will be one - just no one knows where at the moment. Broadway is absolutely hopeless (really bad) so can't imagine it will be that one - I guess Aldwych or New Oxford Street which is open 24/7 apparently.

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    1. I have had confirmation from a reader that Broadway will be the replacement philatelic service for Trafalgar Square.

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  9. Thanks Ian - that's very handy for me at work indeed - but at present you are lucky if they can sell you the latest presentation pack and have no philatelic knowledge whatsoever. Hopefully some of the Trafalgar Square folk will be placed there with their good knowledge (and proper stock!). Last time I went into Broadway for a special stamp for a birthday card they could offer me one of the owl set - and that was it - and they only had two of them!!! They have redesigned/refurbished the Broadway office to a much better standard very recently, so providing they have the staff with philatelic knowledge and not just expect the current ones to pick it up it could be really good and just about as handy for central London visitors/workers as Trafalgar Square. Andrew

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  10. Today I spoke to the Indian lady that has worked on the Philatelic counter at Trafalgar Square for sometime. She is moving to the Broadway branch, with the intention of continuing the service provided by Trafalgar Square. So hopefully we will be able to get the items that were provided by T Square. Time will tell.

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  11. Thanks Chris. That's really good news! Andrew

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  12. Just as a follow-up to this blog that might be of help to others planning a visit to Broadway and whether it's worth the effort - I tried the Broadway 'philatelic counter' today. It effectively doesn't exist in any form we were used to at TS. The familiar lady has transferred from Trafalgar Square herself but all the stock from last year was returned to Swindon when TS closed and she is starting from scratch stock-wise (and nothing really there at present apart from the January 2019 issue). There won't be a stock-holding of the last 12 months issues as before. She's going to be ordering some things, starting with presentation packs and some from last year but I really wouldn't waste your time going there for anything philatelic for a good while. The guy on the counter originally had no knowledge of stamps and I was lucky the lady from TS was there in the back office to get any sense and the story of what's happened. It's a much smaller more compact PO and the way it is arranged will make it much more awkward for those wanting to just walk up to the 'philatelic' counter without causing too much of a fuss with the regular punters and their numbered tickets especially at busy times. (At least you could do that fairly discreetly at TS - not at this branch!) I for one am going to give it a miss even though I work round the corner. Really disappointing. And it's prompting me to finally give up on new issues too frankly.....

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