The Postal Museum, London


The Postal Museum is located close to Farringdon, Russell Square and only a quick stroll from King’s Cross and Chancery Lane underground stations.

The Postal Museum, London

The museum is situated in two buildings throughout the street from one another.  One constructing homes the Mail Rail prepare while the opposite comprises many of the exhibitions and the cafe.  Standard tickets £17 (£1 low cost if booked on-line).  Tickets embrace limitless entry to the Postal Museum for one 12 months plus one Mail Rail experience.

Mail Rail, The Postal Museum
The entrance to the Mail Rail prepare

We had organized pre-booked tickets which embrace a timed entry to Mail Train so we went there first.  We have been really booked on the primary departure of the day which proved to be a bonus because the small prepare wasn’t busy and we loved a whole carriage to ourselves.  All baggage have to be positioned into safe lockers as a result of lack of house however we might in fact hold our cameras and telephones to document the journey.

Mail Rail, The Postal Museum
Ready to board the Mail Rail

The mail prepare has a driver and is pushed manually however was automated when it solely moved submit.  It was designed to hold submit and was not constructed as a vacationer attraction for carrying individuals so it’s a good squeeze as there’s not a lot house on board.  It’s nicely definitely worth the cramped circumstances although as guests are taken on a 15 minute journey again in time deep underneath Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant sorting workplace, discovering a novel piece of London’s industrial heritage.

Mail Rail, Postal Museum, London
Onboard the Mail Rail

We journeyed by means of the unique tunnels and station platforms of London’s 100 12 months outdated postal railway.  The prepare paused at numerous factors to view the unique platforms the place males would seize sacks of letters and others have been positioned on the prepare. The submit would then be sorted within the sorting workplaces above the Mail Rail stations.

Travelling on Mail Rail through the tunnels of the London Transport Museum
Travelling on Mail Rail by means of the tunnels of the London Transport Museum

We have been then in a position to watch projected movies on the partitions of the station platforms telling us concerning the prepare that travelled beneath the streets of London for 22 hours day-after-day, transporting us again to the railway’s 1930’s heyday.  The audio visible information is narrated from the attitude of a former worker and is informed in such a method that it’s of curiosity for all age teams.

Mail Rail Platform, Postal Museum, London
Passing by means of one of many outdated Mail Rail stations

Once the journey ends guests are led by means of to a different part of the constructing which explains concerning the workings of the railway the place we discovered outdated equipment and performed a submit sorting sport in a ‘shaking’ carriage.  This was nice enjoyable for all of the household as we needed to race to kind out all of the submit into the proper pigeon holes earlier than the time ran out.

Mail Rail Signalling Simulator, London Transport Museum
The Mail Rail Signalling Simulator

There was additionally a ‘Mail Rail Signalling Simulator’ signalling laptop sport demonstrating how each the prepare on the present station needed to sign it was prepared to depart and the subsequent station needed to sign its readiness to simply accept its arrival earlier than the prepare departed.

Horse drawn Postal cart, The Postal Museum
Horse drawn Postal cart

Having seen all of the reveals on this constructing, we crossed the street to view the principle exhibition house.  Here we discovered a group of supply automobiles by means of the ages starting from bicycles to quite a few postal vans.

Postal vans on display at the London Postal Museum
One of the Postal Vans on show within the museum

Galleries discover the postal service from the sending of Christmas, birthday and postcards by means of to wartime letters dwelling, the supply of enterprise letters and packets and parcels.

Royal Mail Post Bus on display in the Postal Museum
A Royal Mail postal bus delivering submit and transporting passengers

On show are examples of all the things used for the sorting, cancelling, assortment and supply of mail from the primary ever hexagonal pillar field to those we see on our streets in the present day.

First ever pillar box on display in the London Postal Museum
First ever pillar field on show within the museum

Another part focuses on stamps with a big philatelic assortment together with the world’s first ever stamp, the Penny Black.  An exhibition of stamps was on show that includes the late Queen Elizabeth II and after viewing them we then had a go at designing our very personal stamp which we might e-mail to ourselves as a memento of our go to.

The world's first ever stamp, The Postal Museum, LOndon
The world’s first ever stamp

The historical past of the postcode gallery was additionally very fascinating.  We found that it had been first trialled in Norwich in 1959.  This mechanised sorting operation was launched by Royal Mail to beat the issues of labour intensive letter sorting.

Mechanical sorting machinery, The Postal Museum
Mechanical sorting equipment on show

After trials, in 1966 the eight 12 months programme to postcode all the nation started and was accomplished by 1974 with the recoding of Norwich.  Today, Royal Mail’s on-line postcode finder is without doubt one of the UK’s most used webpages with greater than 40 million visits a 12 months.

Sending items through pneumatic tubes at The Postal Museum
Sending gadgets by means of pneumatic tubes on the Postal Museum

In addition to the postal historical past there are quite a few hands-on actions similar to having the ability to ship gadgets alongside pneumatic shoots across the museum after which watch their progress.  There’s additionally postal dressing up garments, a gentle play centre ‘Sorted’ (extra cost), reward store and cafe with out of doors terrace for hotter days.  We very a lot loved our go to to the museum spending over two hours enthralled with its Mail Rail experience and reveals.

Details:  The Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Place, London WC1X ODA.

We have been company of the Postal Museum and as at all times, all views and opinions are fully my very own.

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