Yes, it may still only be November (and early days at that!) but it is inarguable that London is being gripped by holiday fever. The Christmas lights have started turning on, and Christmas trees have started popping up. And as London gets into full-on festive mode, the Postal Museum is celebrating all things Christmassy and postal with the return of their Christmas exhibition. It’s the busiest time of year for the postal service, and their Christmas exhibition may end up making it the busiest time of the year for the Postal Museum too!
Bringing the festive fun to the whole family, the Postal Museum has launched a programme of family-friendly events, from arts and crafts and storytelling to a festive Christmas-themed Mail Rail experience. The Mail Rail’s annual festive makeover overhauls the immersive experience to include projections and audio of “wartime wives wishing husbands a Merry Christmas from afar, [and] the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC”.
Christmas cards and letters to Santa
Perhaps the most magical part of it all is the museum’s collection of letters between children and Father Christmas. The letters stretch back to 1963, giving viewers an insight into the minds of children throughout the generations, and their Christmas wishes through the years. These letters are accompanied by some of the responses from Royal Mail, which has, over the years, sent thousands of responses to children who addressed their letters to Santa.
Also on display at the Postal Museum is the first commercial example of a Christmas card, from back in 1843. Coincidentally, the card was distributed in the very same week as the publication of the seminal Christmas story, Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The exhibition also features a variety of other Christmas card examples from throughout the years.
Special events at the Christmas exhibition
While the exhibition is running, there will be several special events for guests to take advantage of. Author and artist Ella Phillips will be running interactive storytelling sessions for her new children’s book, ‘My Grandma’s Magic Recipes: Winter Warmth’, on November 4 & 16, and December 18. Home educators can take part in a day of creative activities and storytelling inspired by the popular children’s book, ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’, on November 13.
A particularly exciting series of limited events takes the form of the Festive Tunnel Walks. These tours follow the same route as the usual Tunnel Walks but also include an extra section of the tunnel that isn’t usually on the route. There, guests will find a surprise festive scene created by former Mail Rail employees. Guests can participate in these special walks on November 28, and December 5, 12, & 19.
Tickets to the Postal Museum include your first ride on the Mail Rail and unlimited access to the exhibitions and galleries for a year.
The Postal Museum’s Christmassy exhibitions and displays will run until January 2. Head to the Postal Museum website to find out all the details and plan your trip.