Perhaps you have been puzzled by unfamiliar markings on items of mail or intrigued during a recent visit to a Mail Sorting Office, and would like to find out more? The Postal Mechanisation Study Circle is an organisation independent of the Post Office with a world-wide membership. It was founded in 1976 to study and communicate various aspects of mail automation and mechanisation of the posts around the world, including postal markings, sorting equipment, barcoded labels/stamps and meter franking.
Publications posted to members include the monthly Newsletter* and the quarterly periodical IDENT * - both of which have won many national and international awards. We have an extensive library, available to members for research purposes for the cost of the postage, and this library also holds copies of literature from similar societies overseas.
In 1993 we began publication of our Handbook of British Postal Mechanisation. With sections written by our ‘expert’ members, it is published in parts and will build up into a standard reference work for the mechanisation history of the postal services from 1857 to the present date. Eight parts (1 to 7 plus 5A on the Brighton Transorma) are available to purchase from the Publications Officer to fit your own-purchased A5 twin-ring -binder.
We produce commemorative covers for events marking important developments in British postal mechanisation, and these are available on a standing order basis. The number of these special covers produced each year varies depending on the developments that are taking place within Royal Mail. On average, however, a couple of covers costing under £2 each including postage are produced annually.
Other services for members include auctions, regular meetings and displays, usually held in London, but occasionally elsewhere. From time to time, visits are arranged to Mail Centres across the country.
Our subscription year runs from 1st November - members joining after that date receive monthly Newsletters & IDENT back to the November of the year of joining. Many of our publicatiuons are still available together with backnumbers of our commemorative covers at modest cost. These are available from our Publications Officer - see the Publications section.
From 2011 we have offered a substantially reduced subscription rate to those members who are willing to receive our publications electronically. This has proved very popular with members because of the ever-increasing postage costs.
We hope you will want to join the PMSC and take part in our activities. This is an exciting field in which there are always new developments, and we aim to learn as well as to inform. Don't be put off if you feel you don't know much - we all started that way!