Royal Mail Issues Special Stamps To Celebrate Iconic Children's Toys

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Homes News | Royal Mail issues special stamps to celebrate iconic children's toys | Romsey & VillagesRoyal Mail today revealed a new stamp issue featuring some of the most iconic and much-loved British toys from the last 100 years.

Evoking feelings of nostalgia across generations, the toys featured are: the Merrythought Bear; Sindy Doll; Spirograph; Stickle Bricks; W.Britan Toy Figures; Space Hopper; Fuzzy Felt; Meccano; Action Man and Hornby Dublo trains.

In the 19th century, the growing middle class of the Victorian era was fuelling an expansion in toy-making and major names in British manufacturing started to appear and compete with foreign makers. Previously a producer of mechanical toys, W. Britain pioneered the hollowcast method of figure-making: made using less molten metal, toy soldiers were both lighter and significantly cheaper to produce.

British manufacturers grew in confidence as the 20th century progressed. Soft-toy companies, including Merrythought, which still produces luxury bears to this day, began to take on the might of European giants such as Germany’s Steiff.

In 1938 Frank Hornby launched the Hornby Dublo train set. The following years would see the arrival of some of the biggest names in the history of toys – Fuzzy-Felt (1950), Sindy (1963), Action Man (1966) and the Spacehopper (1969) all materialised in a wild two-decade span, as well as Spirograph (1965) and Stickle Bricks (1969), which were two exceptional and enduring innovations that helped inspire young minds and encourage creativity.

By the early 1960s, Britain was exporting more toys than all but three other countries, with annual sales totalling over £7 million.

The heyday of the British toy industry remains a magical era, one that shaped childhoods across the generations. And with many of the best-loved toys from the past still with us, or perhaps relaunched after temporary absences, the children of today can still have fun with some of the world’s most iconic toys.

Royal Mail spokesperson Philip Parker said: “British toy makers enjoyed a reputation for quality and innovation, and these nostalgic stamps celebrate ten wonderful toys that have endured through the decades.”

House Hunters View 8 Houses Before Putting Offer In On Their Dream Home

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HOUSE HUNTERS VIEW 8 HOUSES BEFORE PUTTING OFFER IN ON THEIR DREAM HOMEHouse hunters in the UK are taking more time to explore their options than previous years and are spending more time researching and viewing properties before making a decision on their ideal home.

On average, we need to visit between four and eight homes before we choose the right one for us, according to new research from homebuilder Strata.

More than one third (31%) of potential buyers will view up to three, insisting they would have been happy to make an offer on one of the first houses they saw.

Whilst 10% are less decisive and will view more than 16 homes before making a decision.

The survey explores people’s attitudes to home buying and reveals the differences between existing homeowners’ and first time buyers’ wish lists.

Homeowners, looking at a new home, will look at more houses (24% view 9-15 properties) than first time buyers.

The feel of the area was deemed of utmost importance by 86% of current homeowners, slightly more than to first time buyers and status of the area is more important to homeowners (78%) than to FTB’s (61%).

When it comes to decoration and interior design, 27% of existing homeowners are interested. Whilst first time buyers are almost 50% less likely to consider this an important factor.

In fact, existing homeowners are twice as likely to be interested in the overall house design than in the cost of living and amenities in the local area.

Gemma Smith, Sales Director at Strata said, “Often customers come to us with a strong vision but aren’t quite ready to fully commit to certain house design.

“Having the option to reserve a new home a year or more in advance allows time to save for a deposit, consider mortgage options and get finances in order.

“We can guide them in the legal process and help them to understand what they want and need from a new home before making that final decision on style and design.”

The research also reveals homeowners - existing and first time buyers – agree that video content and real life stories of people moving home are key considerations when buying a home.

In terms of what information homebuyers are lacking the survey reveals 43% want more detail on part exchange and 27% want more insight into the legal and buying process – not far off the volume of first time buyers.

Students Going Mobile As They Leave TV Sets Behind

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Romsey News | Students going mobile as they leave TV sets behindNew research from TV Licensing shows students are increasingly watching mobile devices rather than on a TV. Just 37 per cent say they watch live TV on a TV set once they’ve arrived at university in a survey1 of new students carried out by TV Licensing. In contrast, of those who watch live TV, 84 per cent say they watched live on a TV set before moving to halls of residence.

A change to the law last September means students are now more likely to need a TV Licence to watch on mobile devices. A TV Licence is needed for watching and recording live television, and since September, watching or downloading BBC programmes on iPlayer. This applies to laptops, mobiles or any other equipment.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

Students are increasingly streaming, downloading, recording, using catch-up services and watching live TV on mobile devices. To help undergraduates decide if they need a licence, we encourage them to view advice at before the big move.

More than a third (34 per cent) of those who watch live TV, choose to watch live TV via a laptop as their main device, up from just 7 per cent before they left for university, indicating a switch to more portable ways of viewing.

Almost half (48 per cent) of students own a TV but only half of those (23 per cent) choose to bring their set to university, a fall from 35 per cent just two years ago. By contrast, 89 per cent bring a smartphone with them, 86 per cent a laptop and 36 per cent a tablet.

Research also shows young people are more clued up than their older counterparts as to when they need a TV Licence. When compared to the general population as a whole, more students were aware of the iPlayer law change than the general public when asked in the weeks following the law change.

Currently, 72 per cent of students are aware of the law change and know a licence is needed to watch catch-up or on-demand TV via BBC iPlayer, using any device. This may be as a result of parental intervention, as growing numbers of parents are mentioning the need to have a TV Licence whilst at university.

Three in five parents discuss the TV Licence with their children, indicating parents and guardians are keen to ensure their offspring stay within the law whilst enjoying TV away from home.

Generally speaking, students won’t be covered by a communal TV Licence or their parents’ licence. More information can be found online on our dedicated TV Licence for students page or by speaking to an adviser over the phone on 0300 790 6113.

Working Beyond 9 to 5: Half All TV Licensing Evaders Caught Out Of Hours

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Romsey Home News | Working beyond 9 to 5: half of all TV Licensing evaders caught out of hoursHalf of all TV Licensing evaders are caught in the early morning, evening and at weekends, according to new figures released today.

TV Licensing Enquiry Officers focus their efforts on unlicensed addresses when occupants are most likely to be at home. Last month, more than 11,0001 evaders across the UK were caught watching live TV or BBC programmes on iPlayer without a licence before 9am, after 5pm or on weekends.

In a recent survey2, almost a third of all adults thought it unlikely that anyone watching live TV without a licence would be caught, yet in June alone, more than 22,0003 evaders were caught without a licence.

London was one of the top areas across the UK, with 600 evaders caught outside weekday working hours last month, followed by Belfast, where 569 evaders were caught without a TV Licence, out-of-hours.

Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:

Our officers knock on over 10,000 doors a day - one every five seconds. In 2016/17, we caught around 256,6004 evaders from all walks of life. Officers can explain payment plans which spread the cost of a licence. We’d always rather help people pay than prosecute and encourage them to contact us for help and advice.

We offer a variety of ways to spread the cost, including a weekly cash payment plan, a savings card or a monthly Direct Debit scheme, which can be set up very quickly online or over the phone. We also work with almost 500 money advice and community organisations across the UK to offer information on when a licence is needed, ways to pay and concessions.

Ron Hand, TV Licensing Field Operations Lead, said:

In order to be fair to the majority who do pay for their licence, we’ll continue to pursue the small minority of people who do not pay. We make sure some of our visits are scheduled when popular programmes such EastEnders are aired or football matches are screened, outside normal working hours.

Enquiry officers focus their visits on unlicensed addresses where occupants have ignored previous attempts to make contact. TV Licensing continually refines the information used to select the time of visits, in order to effectively target unlicensed households.

The vast majority of first time evaders are not prosecuted if they buy a licence before their case is reviewed by the courts. Around 99 per cent of TV Licensing cases taken to court in England and Wales result in a conviction.

You can buy a TV Licence online, and a colour licence costs £147. A TV Licence is needed if you’re watching or recording programmes at the same time as they’re shown on TV, or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer.

You can visit the TV Licensing website to find more information about when a TV Licence is needed. Top ten “out-of-hours” evaders caught areas in June 2017: