The Mail rail and the London Postal museum are dedicated to the british postal service. This family-friendly museum sends you on a journey back through time to the staryt of our first postal service. Lets take a look at everything you need to know about visiting the Mail Rail Museum and the Postal Museum in London
If you are looking for somewhere a bit interesting to go in London city why not try the Postal Museum London. The Postal Museum and Railway also known as The Mail rail in London and is run by the Postal Heritage Trust. The Mail Rail and The Postal Museum London make for an interesting day out. You can ride through the hidden tunnels under the city and discover the history of The Royal Mail. There changing interactive exhibitions and an amazing play spaces and zones for younger children making it a great day for all.
Everything you need to know about Riding the Mail Rail and visiting the Postal Museum London
On your way to the Postal Museum try a walking tour
On your way to the Postal Museum why not try a walking tour. You can download one of the Royal museums free walking trails to get from the station to the Postal Museum.
The Postal Museum London have amazing walking trails you can download to make getting to the postal museum more interesting too.
Learn the history of the Mail Rail at the Postal Museum London
The museum goes in to great detail about the history of the Mail rail and the postal service itself. The Mail rail runs underground and you can try it out for yourself.
75 years ago when the rail was first built it started delivering letters, the driverless trains became the first of its kind in the world.
In 1911 plans were made to build an underground tunnel to serve the main sorting offices along the route. Work was started in 1915 and it was finally finished in 1927 and letters were carried from 1928. Thus cutting down the time it took to get post across the city. In 2003 The Postal Museum and Railway was closed due to it being cheaper to run the post by road.
The Mail consists of 22 miles of track with eight stations and at its peak carried 4 million letters a day. Mail rail ran from Mount Pleasent post office and helped deliver the post underground as far as Paddington in the west and Whitechapel in the east.
All Aboard the mail rail!
You can now travel the Mail Rail and experience for yourself what it was like for the workers to be underground. Ride through the hidden tunnels in a custom built train and discover the history of this heritage.
The ride itself takes approximately 20 minutes and you will be on one of two trains with a clear roof.
Your ticket gives you a time slot to ride the train. You can put your Bags in lockers on the ground floor or in the cupboards by the side of the platform.
Whilst in the tunnel you will see it as it was left and used throughout its working life, it would of been a hive of activity back in the day.
Throughout the ride the train stops and huge film projections are displayed on the tunnel walls. These films detail the journey the mail rail took through the ages since it was opened.
Learn the history of the Mail Rail in the Exhibition
After your train ride you can discover the exhibition in the Mail rail museum exhibition. With many interactive exhibits such as controlling the line and original trains to board it is great fun for kids and adults alike. You will see equipment used and you can even even dress up as train driver yourself. It is really interesting to learn about the workers their roles and and about the trains.
‘Sorted’ The play Post area for kids at the Postal Museum London
Before you leave the Rail Mail premises be sure to take any little ones to the “Sorted” play area to let off some steam. They can post letters, sort mail and an generally have fun in this interactive area.
The Postal Museum London exhibits
The journey in the postal museum takes you on a different story learning about the history of the post and where it originated.
The first letters were sent by Henry the VIII to keep a close eye on the kingdom. You will see also see uniform worn by the people that worked the mail and the pistols they used to protect themselves.
The stunning mail coach dates from around 1800 and is stunning.
The early years of the post system
The post office launched its first penny black stamp in 1840. It was now a penny to send a letter weighing up to half an ounce anywhere in the country.
As it became easier to send letters, pretty envelopes became very popular and were often designed by authors, there are many of these displayed around in the showcases.
All around the museum are interactive buttons to press with noises and costumes for you to dress up in. You can send telegrams and even pick up an old telephone and listen to extracts of old letters.
You can have great fun watching your letter shoot up a pneumatic shoot to the other side of the museum. I wonder if you will get a reply? The level of interaction in the museum is pure genius.
Learn fun facts about post boxes!
Did you know that post boxes were originally Green Pillar boxes?
There are many pillar boxes throughout the museum. But did you know they used to be green? In 1874 they become Red after people said they were dreary and hard to see.
In the Second World War the tops of the piller boxes were painted white so that people could see them during a black out.
Learn all about Postal service during the war and the telegram boys
Learn about the Royal Mail as it travels through the First World War and the Second. Real lantern slides tell a story while war sirens play in the background.
I loved the old letters and post cards on display. It must of been wonderful the amount of letters wrote years ago that actually meant something.
Many of the mail Motorbikes in the 1930s were ridden by men as young as 16. During the war these bikes became known as the ‘Angels of Death’ as they had the unhappy task of delivering the news of soldiers killed on the front line.
Find out all about Air mail at the Postal Museum
With the arrival of Airmail in the 1920s speed was important. Bluepost boxes appeared on the streets in the 1930s which helped advertise Airmail much faster.
There is a large section where you can flick through old postal magazines and see the changes the stamps took through the decades. Up until 1965 most stamps showed the monarch, we then started to see stamps with artwork. Some of the artwork is truly stunning, my favourite being the little Robin redbreast.
As the museum progresses you start to learn about how the mail works today in the form of short films.
There is an arts and craft workshop for children that runs from 11.00-13.00 and then again from 14.00-16.00. Todays task was to try sending your own message in a bottle.
The current exhibition space is ‘Writing Home’ exploring the letters sent from people communicating with their family at home and their experiences. The Postal Museum and Railway hold many exhibitions and event so check their website for details.
Postal Museum London souvenir shop
There is plenty of bits and pieces in the shop to tempt you, and a cafe serving coffee snacks and cakes.
The Discovery room and archives at the Post Office Museum
The Discovery room holds all of the Hub for all of the museums archives. Researchers or students can find lots of information here. Family researchers can find out about relatives who may of worked in the Royal Mail from the archival books. There is a huge electronic tablet on which you can explore the archives of photos, documents and stamps kept by the Royal Mail. The Discovery Centre is a complete learning resource centre for the public.
I hope you enjoyed my tour of The Postal Museum and Railway. For more information and to purchase tickets please see The Postal Museum and Railway website.
Did you know there is a Park in London Called Postman’s Park where Postmean and woman had their lunch? This now holds some amazing heroic plaques on the wall go take a look here
Where is the Postal Museum London?
The Postal Museum London address is ;
The Postal Museum
15-20 Phoenix Place
How do I get to the The Postal Museum London?
The closest underground tube stations are Barbican, Chancery Lane and Kings cross and Russell Square. Most of these stations are less than mile away and a short walk.
When you arrive the Mail Rail is on the opposite side of the road to the postal museum.
This post originally appeared on Likelovedo.com Royal Mail Rail and was a courtesy visit thanks to The Postal Museum and Railway. All my own personal Opinions.
Medi Jones says
Where is this please?
You can find it at The postal museum 15/20 Phoenix place, London WC1X 0DL
David Byford says
Thank you x