[SIGCIS-Members] Royal Mail Postage Stamp commemorating Colossus

Roger Johnson rgj at dcs.bbk.ac.uk
Sun Feb 1 13:02:22 PST 2015

You should contact the UK Philatelic Bureau at http://www.royalmail.com/personal/stamps-collectibles-gifts/stamp-range

Roger Johnson

From: members-bounces at sigcis.org [mailto:members-bounces at sigcis.org] On Behalf Of Ian S. King
Sent: 01 February 2015 18:08
To: Brian Randell
Cc: Sigcis
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Royal Mail Postage Stamp commemorating Colossus

That is exciting!  Brian, here in the US such commemorative postage stamps are usually available in a 'proof' form.  Do you know how those of us on the other side of the pond might acquire such, if they are printed?

On Sun, Feb 1, 2015 at 2:42 AM, Brian Randell <brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk<mailto:brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk>> wrote:

The Royal Mail has at last revealed details of their plans for a commemorative postage stamp featuring Colossus. I have known of this plan for some time as I was commissioned (in confidence) last year to write a section on Tommy Flowers for the chapter in the next Royal Mail Year Book about the new stamp series. (A rather brief press release by Royal Mail itself indicates that "each of the eight special stamps depict key inventions created by British inventors over the last century: Colossus, World Wide Web, Catseyes, Fibre Optics, Stainless Steel, Carbon Fibre, DNA Sequencing, i-limb" - see http://www.royalmail.com/personal/stamps-collectibles-gifts/look-forward-into-2015.)

The attached picture and text in fact comes from a scanned copy of the February 2015 British Philatelic Bulletin, rather than directly from the Royal Mail., which I received today. I had not seen the design of the stamp before, so only now - to my annoyance - do I find that it describes Colossus as “the first electronic digital computer” - my own text takes care to use the phrase “the first programmable electronic digital computer”.

I have pointed out this problem to the Royal Mail, but have been told that it is too late for it to be corrected - the stamps are to be issued next month. (I have learned that the Royal Mail were given some rather poor advice, so I don’t blame them.)

However I am nevertheless delighted that Colossus is being commemorated by the Royal Mail, and by the growing public recognition especially here in the UK of Tommy Flowers’ great contribution.


Brian Randell

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Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS
Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School
University of Washington

An optimist sees a glass half full. A pessimist sees it half empty. An engineer sees it twice as large as it needs to be.
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