Royal Mail and the National Railway Museum are marking the 100th anniversary of steam locomotive Flying Scotsman with a set of 12 Special Stamps.
The images feature Flying Scotsman in various locations across the UK:
- Pickering Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
- The ‘Christmas Dalesman’ steam special in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
- The ‘Cathedrals Express’ crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
- Steaming through the town of Blyth in Northumberland
- In a blizzard at Heap Bridge on the East Lancashire Railway
- The ‘Cathedrals Express’ excursion crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed
- At London’s Victoria Station
- In close-up at Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham
A further four stamps presented in a miniature sheet feature images of Flying Scotsman and London North Eastern Railway (LNER) poster artwork from the 1920s and 1930s.
- ‘Scotland by the Night Scotsman’ poster, artwork by Robert Bartlett, 1932
- ‘LNER train service to and from Scotland’ advertisement, designed by HL Oakley, 1923
- ‘Edinburgh: Mons Meg’ poster, artwork by Frank Newbould, 1935
- ‘Refuelling the Flying Scotsman’ poster, artwork by Frank Newbould, 1932
David Gold, Director of External Affairs & Policy, Royal Mail, said: “Flying Scotsman is a national treasure of engineering and design that conjures up the golden age of steam travel. This remarkable locomotive epitomises the romance of rail travel and is loved all by people over the world. We are honoured to mark this landmark milestone with a set of Special Stamps.”
Royal Mail worked closely with Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator at the National Railway Museum, (part of the Science Museum Group), to select the images featured on the stamps that were chosen from amongst hundreds of period photographs.
The steam locomotive Flying Scotsman left the LNER’s Doncaster Works in February 1923.
It was named the following year after the principal express which ran between London and Edinburgh. In 1928, it hauled the first regular non-stop service from London to Edinburgh.
Built as an ‘A1’ class engine with a boiler pressure of 180psi (pounds per square inch), it was rebuilt in 1947 as an ‘A3’, with a higher boiler pressure of 220psi.
The engine ushered in an era of big locomotives, and its long history of operation has included several ‘firsts’, such as being the first steam locomotive to achieve a speed of 100mph (161kmh).
Over a 40-year career on British rails, Flying Scotsman travelled over two million miles (3.2 million km) and became the first steam locomotive to reach a speed of 100mph (161kmh).
After Flying Scotsman’s retirement from scheduled service in 1963, it was bought by businessman Alan Pegler and given a1920s LNER livery and the number 4472. Pegler was ambitious, and in 1969 he took his loco on a ‘Buy British’ tour of the United States. The journey attracted big crowds, and over several years the engine steamed from Texas to Canada and then over the Rockies to San Francisco, garnering publicity but losing Pegler his fortune.
The locomotive was rescued from an uncertain fate by British millionaire Sir William McAlpine, who returned it to the UK in 1973, determined that this national treasure would never again be threatened with exile. In 1988, Flying Scotsman went to Australia for the country’s bicentenary and visited Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs and Perth. The tour ‘down under’ was a triumph, with the return journey via Cape Horn ensuring another ‘first’: the locomotive had circumnavigated the globe.
Since 2004, Flying Scotsman has been part of the collection of the National Railway Museum in York, following a global public campaign to save the engine for the nation. As the oldest operating steam locomotive on the main line, it remains a potent symbol of the steam age and an inspiration to many.
Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s silhouette:
Flying Scotsman’s stamp issue will be the last to feature the silhouette of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
The silhouette has been in constant use on Special Stamps since 1968 (55 years).
The first version of Queen Elizabeth’s silhouette to appear on Special Stamps was adapted from a 1953 design by sculptor and medallist, Mary Gillick, used on coinage from 1953 to 1967. It was first used on the Landscapes stamp issue in May 1966.
Stamp illustrator, David Gentleman, re-worked the Gillick Head silhouette. The updated design was first used on the British Bridges issue in 1968 and has remained in use until today.
The only occasion on which the silhouette has not featured on a Special Stamp is when an actual image of The Queen was used in the design of the stamp.
Future Special Stamps will feature a silhouette of His Majesty King Charles III.
The stamps are available to pre-order from 28th February at www.royalmail.com/flyingscotsman and by telephone on 03457 641 641. A Presentation Pack including all 12 stamps in the set is available on general sale from 16 February and priced at £17.70.
See also: The Royal Family: the Next Generation