Mail Rail at The Postal Museum on track
2017 will see the opening of The Postal Museum – a unique new heritage attraction in Central London, with two experiences in one: The Postal Museum & Mail Rail.
Visitors will be given the opportunity to travel 70 feet underground to ride the Post Office’s forgotten railway and explore interactive exhibition galleries to learn about the postal service’s impact on the world we live in including community, technology, politics, design and war – all brought to life through incredible objects and amazing stories.
The 500 square metre exhibition space splits into six zones: one to five being the story of the mail from the reign of King Henry VIII to present day and zone 6 holding a regular programme of temporary exhibitions. Their objective is to change the way people look at the history of the postal system. People have preconceptions that it’s not relevant and focused on stamps and letterboxes – the museum’s aim is to make it significant to people’s lives today.
Just down the road, Mail Rail allows the public into the tunnels of the Post Office’s private underground railway for the first time in its hundred-year history. Visitors can ride a looping mile of track to encounter the industrial heritage and secret geography of the capital and the entire experience is accompanied by an audio, visual sensory experience revealing the story behind this unique endeavour.
There is a huge amount of construction work underway to get the museum up and running, including a cut and carve, refurbishment, a new build archive, an extension to the north of the building and courtyard. Blue-Sky Building is the principle contractor on the project.
Premier Construction caught up with John Mendelsohn of Blue-Sky Building and The Postal Museum’s Project Manager, Hannah Gledhill to find out more about the project.
“Every day is a different challenge. The fact we are working on the first automated, electric rail system in the world is an honour, and that people can come in and see our work is just fantastic – there aren’t many jobs in the world where you’d have the opportunity to give that back to the public.”
“I feel privileged to be involved in something that will be a major attraction in central London so for me it’s a great opportunity and one that very few people get to be involved in. It’s not very often new museums open, so the fact that we’re opening a brand new heritage attraction in this location is huge, really, and we’re aiming for it to compete with the best!”
When asked about what the museum will offer to local community groups and schools Hannah said:
“Our aim is for our learning programme to benefit the community and future generations significantly. We’ve never had a dedicated space for schools to visit. In the new building we will have a dedicated learning centre to really increase engagement with school age children and open up the fascinating story of the postal service and Mail Rail”
“It’s important for us to be providing access to the local community. We want this museum to be welcoming; we want to bring people into the centre through our doors to engage with our stories and collections. One of the ways we’re doing this is by looking at options for community groups to use the space for their own meetings and events “
Construction of The Postal Museum is still underway. The project is scheduled to reach completion in spring 2017.