Mail Rail supplies an underground history lesson at London’s new Postal Museum

Travel n Tour

A subterranean railway once whizzed 4 million letters a day across London. The public had been oblivious to it but will soon be capable of trip it, because its paperwork the centerpiece of the brand new Postal Museum

‘Mail Rail become like having you’re personal large educate set to run.” The phrases are the ones of Ray Middlesworth, one of the closing engineers on London’s underground postal community, and they’re now etched on an statistics plaque within the subterranean phase of the brand new Postal Museum, which has opened in Farringdon.

The underground Mail Rail device transported letters and parcels 6½ miles across London, from Paddington to Whitechapel, for over seventy-five years – from the Nineteen Twenties until its closure in 2003, linking six sorting places of work with mainline railway stations and delivering 4 million letters each day. It’s now a museum covering now not just the subterranean service but the records of Royal Mail. It’s the trains with a purpose to scouse borrow the show: from 4 September visitors can be capable of the climb on board replica rail automobiles and ride via this piece of industrial background.

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Rail tracks within the tunnels of the former Post Office London Underground Railway.
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Rail tracks within the tunnels of the mail railway. Photograph: Miles Willis/EPA
The whole community crisscrossed the tube lines, and at its height the provider operated for 22 hours a day, using more than 220 group of workers. It changed into a crucial a part of underground London, even though the general public never noticed it.



Now two new trains had been adapted from the authentic layout to accommodate human beings (even though it’s far a very snug match) and will take site visitors on a 10-minute round journey from what used to be the Mount Pleasant depot, 21 meters underground. The miniature wagons career around the tunnel machine, pausing to permit passengers to watch video montages, which inform the tale of the Mail Rail and speculate about what turned into in the letters that once clunked down those tracks.

A Royal Mail train, circa 1800.
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A Royal Mail instruct, circa 1800. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
You may be traveling the equal direction as letters from a Nineteen Thirties munitions employee to her distant army beau, or from a starstruck child in the early 50s to the then-Princess Elizabeth. In the accompanying Mail Rail exhibition, budding engineers and teach drivers can function the lever body, race pneumatic cars or even get dressed up in the flat cap and trench coat of a journeying postal employee. Upstairs in the Postal Service exhibition, you could mock up a stamp with your head on it instead of the Queen’s, and use cuddly toys to act out an incident where a lioness that had escaped from the zoo attacked a mail teach.

A choice of Post Office designs thru the while, on show at some stage in a preview of the Postal Museum in London.
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A choice of Post Office designs thru a long time. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
There’s a small show of stunning modern-day stamp designs and an expansion of posters and magazines from the 1950s and 60s that upload a colorful, exclusive (and now unfashionable-elegant) aesthetic. Through the temporary exhibition, Writing Home: Letters as a Lifeline – which explores how people have used letters and parcels to live close to circle of relatives and buddies while they may be separated via struggle, repressive regimes and economic necessity – the Postal Museum achieves its aim of bringing an extra human size to old fashioned snail mail.

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