The Jubilee of Penny Postage
South Kensington Admission
2nd July, 1890

The official Post Office celebration of the Jubilee took the form of a grand Conversazione and Exhibition under the patronage of Queen Victoria for the benefit of the Rowland Hill Benevolent Fund on 2nd July 1890 at South Kensington Museum. Open from 7 pm to Midnight, it was attended by 4000 visitors including the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and many other distinguished guests.
Text by John Davies

According to "Account Of The Celebration Of The Jubilee Of Uniform Inland Penny Postage", "The sale of the Jubilee Envelope (price 1s.) will take place at the General Post-Offices in the Architectural Court and Art Library; and at the branch Post-Offices which will be found in various parts of the building." As the Architectural Court was an open four story structure, this image above would probably have been one of the Branch Post-Offices, though clearly a repository of books.

The Virginia & Albert Museum had its origins in the Great Exhibition of 1851, with Henry Cole, the museum's first director, involved in the planning. Initially known as the Museum of Manufactures, and first opened in May 1852 at Marlborough House. In September it had been transferred to Somerset House. The collections covered both applied art and science. By February 1854 discussions were underway to transfer the museum to the current site off Cromwell Road and it was renamed South Kensington Museum.

The laying of the foundation stone of the Aston Webb building (to the left of the main entrance) on 17 May 1899 was the last official public appearance by Queen Victoria. It was during this ceremony that the change of name from the South Kensington Museum to the Victoria and Albert Museum was made public. Queen Victoria's address during the ceremony, as recorded in the London Gazette, ended: "I trust that it will remain for ages a Monument of discerning Liberality and a Source of Refinement and Progress."


Image courtesy of John Davies




8th February, 2018