London Travel

The Postal Museum

The Postal Museum is a fun museum in London, but, more surprisingly, it’s not the first Postal Museum I’ve been to. I blogged back in 2018 about Bath Postal Museum. I loved visiting the museum and I think despite the fact that is pricey, it is worth it.

The Postal Museum

The visit starts with a trip on the Mail Rail, which was so much fun. The rail was used for a century to transport mail within London.

Me

Mind your head! Well, I managed to bump my head 3 times when going in and once when exiting the carriage. My husband, who is 10 inches taller than me was very careful and avoided the bumping. The carriage is small, but that makes the whole experience so much more interesting.

Mail Rail

Details about the rail and the service are told while we travelled through the underground tunnels. On top of that is an audio-visual show which was lovely too. We also found out about a movie that was filmed there, Hudson Hawk, with Bruce Willis. I watched the movie afterwards and it’s not exactly great, but seeing the clips from the Postal Museum made it a bit better. It has 5.8 on IMDB.

Mail Rail

This is one of the places where mail was sorted and the movie was filmed.

I would have highly recommended the museum just for this informative and exciting Mail Rail trip, but the rest of the museum is very interesting too.

Lockers

These lockers were left as they were by the last employees to work at this depot, before leaving on the 30 May 2003.

Display at The Postal Museum

For the ones who are aware of postal history know what these contraptions were used for. I remembered how puzzled I was when I found out that near some of the train stations a net like this was placed so mail was thrown out from the moving train to avoid having to stop. What is even more shocking for our modern health&safety standards is the next bit.

Post carrier

These were filled with letters and an operator would pick these up, from the moving train. This is why these were so high, so the operator could get them easier.

Coach

How wonderful is this Coach? Nearby there was an incredible story on display boards. On 20 October 1816 the Exeter-London Mail Coach was attacked by a lioness, who got hold of one of the horses. The passengers ran into the inn and barricaded themselves inside. The owner of the lioness pleaded that she was not to be killed, as she managed to escape his travelling menagerie. So, he released his Newfoundland dog who scared the lioness, who hid and was safely removed.
What is even more incredible is that a spokesperson from Royal Mail said that there was no loss of mail and the Coach was delayed by only 45 minutes. If I’ve seen something like this in a movie I wouldn’t have believed it.

Post delivery

Remembrance

This Remembrance book contains the names of the 3972 postal workers killed in WWII.

Air mail

An Air Mail postbox which had details on prices and collection times. I imagine there were not a lot of those.

Cards

I saw similar embroidered postcards from France and Belgium, but I am always in awe of their beauty and also think each time of why they were made in the first place, as women needed the money for food for them and their children so much that these were so cheap.

Cards

Lastly, there is a display of cards and those are fun to see and consider how they changed through time. How cool are these folded cards?

There are many more things to see at the museum and so don’t miss it if you are in London. The entry fee for the Postal Museum is (online) £16 for adults, with half price for Art Pass holders. Opening times at the moment are from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 to 17. The address is 15-20 Phoenix Place, London, WC1X 0DA.

10 Comment

  1. This looks fascinating. I don’t think I ever would have thought to put this on my list but now I’m very interested. Love those embroidered postcards and the train ride sounds great.

  2. Oh, this postal museum looks like a wonderful place to visit. If I ever visit Bath, I’ll pay it a visit. I will have to be careful not to get hid on the head, though. I can be clumsy sometimes. 🙂
    The train ride must have been fascinating. I’m sure I’d enjoy that underground tunnel. I love to see how things were run or operated once.
    That embroidered Christmas card is beautiful. The folded cards are wonderful as well.
    Have a lovely day.
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  3. As Bath is my home town, I have of course been to the Postal Museum here, but not the one in London. The rail ride looks a lot of fun, Anca. £16 is pricey but you do get a lot for your money – fab review, hope your head is better now!

    1. Aww :)) It is funny that my husband didn’t bang his head, but I did.
      It is pricey, so I would suggest joining Art Fund, as they have lots of good deals with many museums and it might save money in the long term.

  4. Although neither of us have a burning desire to visit London again any time soon, (unless it is to Kew Gardens, where we don’t actually have to enter the City centre), I wouldn’t mind visiting this museum, as it is one of the few we haven’t managed to get around over the years.

    Mind you, like yourself, we have been to the much smaller scale one in Bath, as we live just down the road from there and it just had to be done, as my FIL worked for most of his life in the Wages Department of the Post Office, with a short break when he was a Television License evasion officer.

    We walked through the Bath complex which houses the museum only the other day and I have to say how sad it all looked, as so many of the shops and businesses in that one small area, have closed their doors for good. Luckily, other parts of the City seem to be relatively unscathed, which is good news. Hopefully a good summer will see a few new businesses attracted to that particular area.

    You always get such cool pictures too! 🙂

    1. If you can visit it during the week it might be better, quieter. I would love to visit Bath again, but I imagine some parts are not as good as before the pandemic with shops/places closed.

    1. Aww, thank you. 🙂 London, and England as a whole, is fantastic for displaying the more unusual parts of history. I love this diversity.

    1. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. The train ride is fun and the museum has a lot of different exhibits which makes it very interesting.

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