A report on the visit to the Postal Museum which began in 2004 as The British Postal Museum & Archive but opened in Clerkenwell, near to the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre as The Postal Museum on 28 July 2017.
The morning of 22nd November dawned clear and bright and 28 members and guests gathered in the café of the Postal Museum in preparation for our guided tour around the exhibition. Sustained by very good coffee we were divided into two groups and the tour started. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable and so we learnt about the history of the postal service from its origins, the dangers faced by those delivering the post in those early days, the postal workers who went to war, the technology developments to support the service and so much more. The exhibits have been very well displayed with post boxes, carriages, wonderful posters and the only complete sheet of penny black stamps in existence. We all wondered how much that might be worth. We barely scratched the surface in the 45 minutes the tour lasted and a repeat visit is a must!
After the tour of the Museum, It was then time to descend for our ride in the converted carriages of the Post Office Railway or Mail Rail as it became known, on a restored 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) stretch of track . This underground railway was the world’s first driverless electric railway and took post from Mount Pleasant to the railway termini in London to be sent around the country.
The ride lasted 20 minutes and we got a real sense of the system which operated from 1927 until 2003 . We all wondered why it closed as it would be so much more efficient than using vans and lorries to transport post around London.
After the visit we had a gentle stroll to Exmouth Market for lunch at Santore, a wonderfully old fashioned Italian restaurant where both the food and wine were plentiful and we were able to catch up with friends before everyone set off homewards.
Avril Payne – Club Chairman