The Secret Underground You Need To Write Home About

By Lottie Hulme |
28th January 2019

Miniature things are cute. Fact! No literally, it is a fact that we, as humans, have a tendency to find small things incredibly cute due to a pandering towards nature and the way in which it makes us act with care. Which is why the miniature trains at The Postal Museum have us all in a tizzy. The icing on the cake? You get to ride them during a 15-minute immersive underground experience. Now that’s pretty snazzy!

Postal Museum and their underground Mail Rail is a way to get millennials on board with the old school way of the post. Surprisingly, the post isn’t delivered by Postman Pat, or in fact Hedwig, but actually by a secret underground train (and vans and planes etc), that runs beneath the streets of London. For over 70 years, the Postmen Pats of the world were in the know when it came to a train running underground from Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the East. From love letters to boring letters to break up letters, the train “Choo-chooed” along the tracks, delivery letters left, right and centre.

Mail Rail was a vital artery in Britain’s communication network but it was hidden away. Who knows what on earth went on in those hidden tunnels! Now it’s your turn to see what’s going on far from the madding crowd. The ride allows you to see the original and largely unchanged station platforms, take in a theatrical experience that travels back in time to the railway’s lively 1930s heyday and see and hear the people who worked on it. Basically, if you’re a transport nerd this is your version of Disneyland Paris, and if you’re not? You’ll also love it.

The mail surged through the tunnels for 22 hours per day; a hefty amount of time indeed! But the rail closed down in 2003 as explorers far and wide tried to catch a glimpse of the postal underground going-ons! The experience is brought to life with narration, immersion, facts, figures, projections and more. And the Farringdon-based Postal Museum itself is pretty cool! It’s been a finalist for Art Fund’s Museum of Year as well as playing hosting to a smorgasbord of events including interactive exhibits and a rather gloomy experience of creating a major industrial accident. Currently, they’ve got their Voices From The Deep exhibition following with postal tradition by revealing sunken, forgotten letters recently recovered from a shipwreck.

If you still haven’t exhausted your Postman Pat curiosities then nip across the road to learn all about the history of the Royal Mail. You can dress up as the workers in some seriously sexy post gear, and learn about how they stand for way more than red vans and puns about posting through letterboxes with barking dogs on the receiving end. Did you know that the first job of the Royal Mail was to deliver crucial messages from the King or Queen? A pretty big deal! Now, they’re delivering our spontaneous purchases, incredibly important clothes orders and subscription boxes, and we love it!

So if this sounds like it’ll get you on the right tracks to having a good time then you can find the postal museum here at 15-20 Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA, and more information here.  Which leaves nothing left to do but enjoy!


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