Royal Mail stamps feature Whitby and North Yorkshire’s Viking heritage

Outside of the specialist design press, one of the infrequent occasions that graphic design is highlighted prominently in the media, occurs with the release of a new Royal Mail stamp series.
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An especially rare factor with this latest GB philatelic issue titled Viking Britain, designed by Studio Up, is its significant historical portrayal of the North Yorkshire area.

Similarly, in an unprecedented occurrence, Whitby, then part of the Danelaw region of Viking times, is specifically named on two of the set of eight designs, with superimposed images of excavated archaeological finds of the period.

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Prior to later Scandinavian colonisation, in successive sea-borne raids between 867 and 870, Whitby’s vulnerable landmark Abbey was sacked by Danish Vikings.

Viking Britain penny.Viking Britain penny.
Viking Britain penny.

The town’s derives its current name from Old Norse, ‘hvitr’ (white) and ‘byr’ (village) or ‘white settlement’.

Royal Mail stamps often act as primary signifiers in the commemoration of events, with this set also pre-empting the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York in April of 1984.

Explaining the enduring legacy of the Norse settlers, former City Archaeologist for York John Oxley MBE stated: “North Yorkshire and York were at the heart of Viking power and influence in the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries.

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"Archaeological excavations in York and the creation of the incredibly successful Jorvik Viking Centre, have revealed and explained their lives and lifestyles.

"They were traders, craftworkers, and farmers as well as raiders and warriors, and their influence can be seen today in York and the towns, villages and countryside of North Yorkshire.”