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Stamp set marks 170th anniversary of the Met Office

The collection of eight stamps will celebrate 170 years of the Met Office (Royal Mail/PA)
The collection of eight stamps will celebrate 170 years of the Met Office (Royal Mail/PA)

A new set of stamps is being issued marking the 170th anniversary of the Met Office.

Royal Mail said the eight stamps depict the history, science and future of weather forecasting amid the country’s ongoing obsession with the weather.

The stamps showcase advances in weather forecasting over the last two centuries, including the Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica, the establishment of the Shipping Forecast in 1924, forecasting’s critical role in military operations such as D-Day and Barbara Edwards, the first British female TV weather presenter.

Illustrations include pioneering meteorologist Luke Howard, who classified clouds in 1803, the storm barometer of Robert FitzRoy, who founded what is now the Met Office, in 1854, and marine buoys, which collect data for the Shipping Forecast, which was first broadcast via Morse code in 1925 and first heard on the BBC in 1925.

David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy said: “The British love to talk about the weather. It is a national obsession.

“Whether we are fishermen heading out to sea, farmers planning the harvest or staycationers worried about losing our tent to the winds, people of all ages want to know whether it will be sunny or wet, hot or cold. These stamps celebrate the people and the science behind the weather forecast.”

Barbara Edwards, the first British female TV weather presenter, appears on a commemorative 2nd Class stamp (Royal Mail/PA)

Professor Penny Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office said: “The Met Office has a proud position in UK history. As an island nation, we are often at the mercy of the weather and our role is to help people stay safe and thrive in every corner of the UK and beyond.

“As these beautiful stamps demonstrate, the Met Office has constantly evolved from our roots at the pioneering edge of weather forecasting through to technical innovations of the modern era.”

Claire Martin, niece of Barbara Edwards and former Canadian weather presenter, said: “I was always slightly in awe of my Aunty Barbara growing up. With her feet firmly planted in science, she proudly worked on-air, defiantly refusing to ‘dumb down’ the weather information being delivered.

“She was a consummate professional and an unassuming trailblazer for women in the UK in the field of Broadcast Meteorology. She paved the way for me to follow a very similar career path in Canada! It is so thrilling, so rewarding to see her honoured with a Royal Mail stamp”.

Royal Mail worked closely with the Met Office on the stamp issue and their archive is the source of many of the images used for the collection.

The new stamps go on sale on Thursday.