Precious Bag

Remember hand written letters?

Once when you were far away, the only practical way to connect with loved ones was to write your thoughts, feelings and experiences on paper.

These letters were then shipped to their recipients.

Some sailors at sea would write home every day, numbering each letter and keeping a diary record of letter numbers. This would help the recipient read the letters in the order they were written. Mail bags like this would be bulging with letters.

When a ship came alongside at a foreign port, the ship’s Postman would collect the mail from the letterboxes around the ship. The Postman’s first task was to find the local post office, drop off the bag of mail, and collect the mail for the ship.

Each mess sent one representative to collect the mail and for the next thirty minutes the ship would be still and quiet, with everyone, momentarily, magically transported back home.

– Originally published in 75 Years, 75 Objects exhibition booklet, 2016.

Sorting mail on board ship
Sorting mail on board ship - SN 61 01494 01

More to explore.

Artefact Unpacked