Toy Soldier Postmen and the Bath Postal Museum


Dorset Soldiers 54mm Military postman, bought gloss  prepainted from Bath Postal Museum


Scenes from a (fictional) toy soldier musical number as the lady is serenaded by postmen. Is that a bag of fan mail and love letters  all for her?



54mm Dorset Soldiers Victorian postmen, bought prepainted from Bath Postal Museum.
Some musical bobbies turn up. Oh no, it’s  turning all Mary Poppins on me. Dick Van Dyke can’t be far away. (My old Prince August 54mm toy soldier homecast creations).
The musical finale …

Over the last few years I have made two trips to Bath and popped in to the tiny, volunteer-run Bath Postal Museum (which is not open all week). Check their website for events and opening hours:

Bath Postal Museum

Dorset Soldiers Indian Army Letter carrier (again 54mm from Bath Postal Museum) and Lincoln Logs US postman from my collection.


A glimpse of the tiny Bath Postal Museum ….
Prepainted Dorset Soldiers 54mm postmen and letter carriers, bought over the last few years at the Bath Postal Musuem shop.

My late Dad would have enjoyed this tiny postal museum and may well have visited on one of his last trips to Bath over 20 years ago.

My Dad loved his lead soldiers as a wartime child. He loved our plastic ones that we played with on the floor or in his garden with him. He collected stamps with the same quiet hoarding approach that I collect job lots of broken lead toy soldiers for repair, as you can just never have enough hidden away for Christmas and birthdays. He didn’t understand people who ordered or prebought their stamp collections as they were issued. Where was the thrill of the unknown, of discovery  and the chase?

He bought me the postcard versions of many new British stamps in the 1970s and 80s whilst he collected the First Day Covers and display packs. I still have many of these, especially the military and history ones such as the British Army Uniforms issue from the 1980s and learnt much as a child  from the inserts and information inside these packs.

A selection of toy soldier postmen is a suitable parade in his memory.

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 18 January 2019.

Previous Fathers’ Day posts





10 thoughts on “Toy Soldier Postmen and the Bath Postal Museum”

    1. You are right about the morale boost of troop post; in my SW village before in the build up to D-Day, post for the local army camps was picked up by Bren Gun Carriers. Maybe the village dogs were that fierce to Posties.
      I’m surprised in view of their importance that Britain’s never did Field Post Office troops. Dorset Soldiers do a lovely range of posties of all periods, on cycles, postwomen etc.


  1. A very moving post and a fine tribute to your father. I grew up with my father’s 1930s and 40s stamp album with exotic place names now no longer, black edged mourning stamps from Belgium and myriad other wonders. I collected as a boy in the 60s and 70s loving the 1066 stamps to name but one. I have my father’s album and my own still and i look through them periodically. I remember too smartly uniformed postmen of my youth and two deliveries a day and feel the the Post Office has been let down so badly and we with it. I read somewhere that there were 9 deliveries daily at one time in London. Your figures in this post are lovely and I am tempted to get some to paint up. Your post brightened a cold afternoon as darkness was coming down.


    1. You are right, Alan, Stamp albums are real touchstones to the past and changing place names. The 1066 stamps were bought (later on) for me along with the Battle of Britain set – both still favourite sets.
      Posties had already become much more informal in the 70s and 80s, recognisably so compared to the ones in The Ladybird Book of The Postman.
      The Post Office itself still seemed very solid and traditional then, when popping in to save some pocket money pennies in the Post Office Savings Bank.
      I am amazed the Post Office still exists, although in many places it has physically vanished, adapting into small stores. Interestingly Our local sorting and parcel collection office has the local postal workers war memorial for WW1/2.

      I hope you enjoy choosing some of the Dorset posties – I think they are in the Online shop Civilians pages catalogue? I bought one of the painted Dorset postman (being chased by a small dog) for our local postie Bob in our old village when he retired, as it frequently happened to him. Glad you enjoyed the (blog) post.


  2. As part of my career in the Royal Engineers I was a Postal Courier. And was sent on attachment to British Forces Post Offices (BFPO) overseas in Gibraltar and Ascension Island. And if there was a major exercise abroad involving any units in the Army who were training, they used to send a detachment of ‘Posties.’ It all sound’s very adventurous (which it was) however it could be a real pain. I recall working in the post office in Gibraltar where I had to stand in for someone who was off sick. And I had to balance all the days takings in both British and Spanish currencies to the duty officer before I could ‘knock off’ to the NAAFI so as to have a few beers as soldiers do! There was always a bloody anomally with balancing the currency. And customers would still be coming in! After it had been checked about 5 times and sweating profusely I ended up putting in a few quid that was missing! And when it was sorted out then I could do all the security closing bit and leg it back to barracks!
    Sadly the RE postal service was taken over by the relatively new Royal Logistics Corps some years ago. Seeing these toy ‘posties’ has brought it all back. I often visit Bath as I love the place I did not even know there was a Postal museum? So thanks for that man of tin I will visit when up there again.


    1. Fascinating and frustrating. Great memories. One of my family went into local branch bank work in the 1980s and would sometimes arrive home very late at night as they had to balance their takings each night even if they were out by a penny. That would be “civilian NAAFI” (pub) time gone then.
      Somebody else I know married a BFPO postie and was posted to The USA about ten years ago, which was an interesting cultural exchange.
      I’m surprised that there are so few military postal figures. It sounds like a great vignette or scenario in so many periods.
      I hope you do get to visit the Bath Postal Museum, it is downstairs / off the street (in the basement of the existing Bath Post office?) Check the opening hours as it is volunteer run.


  3. Lovely post and beautiful soldiers! Will have to look up Dorset Soldiers, and get to the Bath Postal Museum next time I’m in the UK. I really enjoyed the small Dublin Post Office museum, which was partly about the 1916 Rising but had a room of excellent postal history as well. No toy soldiers, though.


  4. Dorset Soldiers are well worth looking at, especially as you can buy unpainted castings and spare heads and arms as well.

    I hope that you get to visit Bath one day. I hope that the Bath Postal Museum thrives as small volunteer-run museums sometimes vanish. Bath has a number of other small museums, the amazing Roman Baths, all the Regency / Georgian / Jane Austen history including the house Museum in the Royal Crescent. Interesting town, well worth visiting. There is a digital collection online for the Bath Postal Museum too.

    I visited one Dublin ‘Easter Rising’ Museum (not sure if it was the Post Office one) which was very interesting. Cannot remember stamps there but was taking in a lot in a short time. Not a period or scenario that I would feel happy skirmish gaming …


  5. Some lovely figures there. The postal museum looks like a ‘must’ next time I’m in the vicinity. I think it’s great that you had shared love of model soldiers with your dad. I must admit I seemed somewhat unique in my social circle in my liking for them. My dad, my brother, even my classmates – no one I knew seemed interested but me!


  6. At some point I fear the madness of collecting soldiers on stamps! These figures from the Bath Postal Museum ship are by Dorset Soldiers.
    I was lucky in having a Dad who engaged with us as youngsters in many of the things that we were interested in, if they were things that he recognised or understood including Toy Soldiers. Sadly all the lead figures had vanished by then and didn’t resurface as an interest until 20 odd years ago. Lots of other of my school friends / boys played with Airfix when younger, fewer by the time we were teenagers.
    Outside my immediate family, few people offline / IRL know of my ongoing and renewed love of toy Soldiers. Its my hobby and headspace. I did put some Prince August 54mm Toy Soldiers that I had homecast into a local arts and craft exhibition as some boycraft, knowing the organiser. Few people still know, except our postman, lugging heavy parcels of broken Britains to our door …


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