back to article Everything you never knew about mail: The Postal Museum opens

Royal Mail’s Postal Museum, hidden round the corner from its central London sorting depot, is opening to the public after an 18 month refurbishment project. “We are absolutely delighted to welcome our first visitors to The Postal Museum. We’re anticipating an extremely busy first month, with lots of fun activities planned for …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I read about this museum recently in the rather splendid "Mail Obsession" by Mark Mason - well worth a read

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So in the last 18 months were they handing out "we were out when you called" cards?

  3. Alister Silver badge

    Do they have the "New Pie" Sorting Engine on display?

    1. Graham Dawson

      Nah, they've locked that away in a back room. The correspondence it was distributing from the other, saner universes was causing too much distress.

  4. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Makes this old geek want to take a visit to to Ol' Blighty!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      ...and makes this young (ok, youngish) geek (and engineer and philatelist) glad that he does.

      One trip that's definitely being arranged for later this year!

  5. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    Shut up and take my money

    Definitely a must-see. The global postal system, the global time zone agreement: two of the glorious international treaties of the 19th century.

  6. PaulyV

    Still waiting for my tickets to arrive.

    Thank you and goodnight.

  7. Ogi

    Fascinating

    There’s also a small display of how mainline steam trains of yore used to deal with loading and unloading mail while travelling at full speed, courtesy of an alarming-looking system of nets and spikes.

    Indeed, and a visual overview (and demonstration) of that (among the other things, including sorting in the train) is available on youtube, movie is called "night mail", original from 1936, and available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7SD6qt0EFI

    The whole post office inner workings are an impressive and elegant system, I have to say. Very well organised.

    I for one will be paying the museum a visit, although if 5'11 is hard to fit into the mail rail carriage, I suspect squeezing my 6+ ft frame will not really be possible :-S

  8. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Coat

    Pentacycle

    I assume one of these bizarre beauties? https://postalheritage.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/2010_0541front-e1432290221169.jpg

  9. Ol'Peculier

    Don't they know how London prices work?

    It's the kind of thing I'd visit regardless of price, but a very reasonable £16 including a donation is remarkable:

    That and another trip round the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A next time I'm in the smog...

  10. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    Multimedia

    How about the full multimedia experience? Visitors could enjoy dealing with a crotchety postmistress or learn about the Post Office Act. We're sorry to hear that your Recorded Delivery item is missing without a signature, but there's no refund as we don't guarantee anything. Here's a book of stamps. Now go away.

  11. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Neat. Wish I could take the tour.

    Triang Hornby used to make an 00 scale Royal Mail coach that would pick up and deliver tiny plastic mail bags on the move. Very clever it was too.

    BTW dept:

    There's a pocket history of how the stamp came about in Terry Pratchett's excellent Discworld book "Going Postal".

  12. Scroticus Canis

    So do they have a few examples of the clacks as a working exhibit?

    What even happened to two deliveries a day or in the box by 3 pm deliver by 9 am? Used to work when we had steam trains and then slowly didn't.

    @Stevie - I used to have one of those mail coaches looooong ago. Would be worth a fortune now I expect.

  13. Not an Anonymous Coward

    Mail Train

    Great Central Railway http://www.gcrailway.co.uk have a working traveling Post Office.

    I don't think it runs that regularly but it's drops and collections are quite impressive to watch.

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    I went on a visit there many many years ago

    Well worthy of a visit.

    Two areas stuck out in my mind as places you don't want to dwell too long in:-

    (1) The difficulty of breathing whilst in the Battery Room.

    (2) The Contactor Room. Trains were not "driven": full power was either applied to a vehicle, or not, in order for it to move or stop. The explosive arcing coming from contactors that controlled the trains were within feet of where we were standing was both deafening and blinding.

    I'm sure that these two facets will be made less "in yer face" to comply with H&S.

  15. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I'll be going

    ...next time we're down that way.

    Although it no longer affects me, I note that the mention of "families" and a "childrens playroom" seems to have fallen into the same old trap of assuming "family" means adults with kids aged 5-11, which often means they have childrens story telling, dressing up boxes and other similar facilities. There's rarely anything for older children other than the adult oriented part of the visit. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong on the visit.

  16. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I do hope that there will be an appropiate opening ceremony.

  17. Dan McIntyre

    Might have to pay that a visit. Ideally I'd like to do all the sites mentioned in the geeks guide to britain series but physical constraints (I use a wheelchair) might prevent that.

    However, I have made a start! During the august bank holiday I am paying the Falkirk wheel a visit and have a boat trip booked. Going to combine it with a ride on the Bo'ness - wherever it is (I forget) railway and a visit to the Kelpies too.

  18. CarlWoods

    We'll go with the guys. We are already looking forward to our tickets. I really want everything to be pleasant and a lot of pleasant impressions.

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