Higher Education and Research
The Royal Mail Archive (cared for by the BPMA and Designated as a collection of outstanding national importance) is an excellent source of research material for graduate and postgraduate students, particularly those studying history, art and design, and geography.
Researchers are welcome to make use of the online catalogue, and can visit the Archive itself as individuals or in small groups.
Archive staff are available to help with enquires before your visit, and on hand in the Archive Search Room to help you access material relevant to your chosen study area.
For all the information you need to know about visiting the Archive, please click here.
The British Post Office: Collaborative Doctoral Awards
Under the Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Awards Scheme, the BPMA has had three students working towards their PhDs using archival material relating to the Post Office in the 20th Century. The three students studied diverse subjects, ranging from women workers in the General Post Office during both world wars, to mechanisation and technological development in the Post Office in the twentieth century, and the social implications of these developments. Two have now been awarded their PhDs from the University of London, and a third is about to complete.
In 2011 BPMA, in partnership with the Institute of Historical Research, received funding to support a further two PhDs on nineteenth century topics – one on the extent of the Post Office’s use as a vehicle for patronage, and another on data about staff, health and welfare obtainable from our comprehensive staff records.
Students on the scheme use the wealth of resources that The Royal Mail Archive holds, and at the same time help the BPMA to fill in gaps in our knowledge. The students also give presentations and talks relating to their areas of expertise as part of the BPMA events programme, and help to represent our collections at conferences such as the Anglo-American Conference of Historians at the Institute of Historical Research.
Teacher Placement Scheme
The BPMA has taken part in the Museum, Libraries and Archives (MLA) Council's teacher placement scheme since 2006. This scheme allows teachers – and student teachers – to work in an archive or museum for several days, helping to develop resources or activities related to the collection, and curriculum topics such as history and citizenship, and then trial these with relevant school groups.
To read more about the work we did with two trainee history teachers from Kingston University in 2009, please visit the case studies section of the MLA website.
Institute of Historical Research Visits
Three times a year, The Royal Mail Archive hosts students studying a training course called Methods and Sources in Historical Research, organised by the Institute of Historical Research. Up to 15 students visit the Archive to learn more about the resources available and how to get access to them. BPMA staff display original documents to illustrate the breadth of the collections, and to give students an idea of the sort of materials they can access by visiting the BPMA.
Meet the Archivists
The BPMA recently ran a workshop at the Meet the Archivists event organised by the Business Archives Council. The workshop aimed to explore ways in which new research students can identify and use business records in a surprising variety of different research fields.
Participants were be able to explore the vast and varied materials available at many of the UK's major and minor business archives. The BPMA attended this event for the first time in 2010 and made significant progress in raising awareness of our holdings among undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.
For more information about our Higher Education and Research work please contact:
020 7354 7284