The Postal Museum Turned Mount Pleasant into Giant Cinema Screen

The Postal Museum marked Art Fund Museum of the Year shortlist with short film projected onto famous London landmark.

Earlier this month we turned part of London’s iconic Mount Pleasant Sorting Office in Clerkenwell into an outdoor cinema screen, projecting a specially commissioned short art-house style film onto its façade to celebrate the five finalists for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year Award.

Projection on Mount Pleasant, London

Shot in black and white in the style of the General Post Office (GPO) Film Unit’s emblematic 1936 documentary Night Mail, the five-minute film was broadcast on Thursday 5 July, the same evening the winner was announced at a ceremony at London’s V&A Museum. The enormous projection revealed the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year Award – Tate St. Ives –  shortly after the announcement was made.

Take a look at the full video

The short film follows the original route of the historic Postal Special train, which transported post from London’s Euston station to Glasgow, Scotland. It stops along the way to unveil stories from The Postal Museum’s collections linking to all five Museum of the Year finalist towns.

  1. Postmen using rowboats to deliver mail in Cornwall (Tate St Ives)
  2. The advent of Air Mail (Brooklands Museum, Weybridge)
  3. Mail Rail – the miniature underground postal railway that ran for 76 years keeping people across the globe connected (The Postal Museum)
  4. A 1636 letter to the Mayor of Hull informing him of King Charles I’s opening his own postal service to the public – the birth of the ‘Royal Mail’ (Ferens Art Gallery, Hull)
  5. The true story of two suffragettes who posted themselves as ‘human letters’ to Downing Street in 1909, determined to make themselves heard (Glasgow Women’s Library).

All footage is interspersed with iconic footage of the Down Postal Express cutting its way across Britain’s impressive landscape.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund Director said, ‘Bringing five centuries of communications history to life, London’s newest museum tells the compelling story of Britain’s postal heritage and first social network. Judges were hugely impressed by the way the team transformed an archive used by 3,000 people a year to an impressive museum welcoming over 160,000 visitors to date, and the remarkable achievement of the Mail Rail, which originally transported the post deep beneath London’s streets and is now a great visitor attraction. They were inspired by the ambition, vision and energy that we witnessed from every member of the team, and which makes for an exceptional experience for the Postal Museum’s many visitors.

Supported by Art Fund, the £100,000 Museum of the Year prize is designed to get to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. Presented every year, it is the biggest museum prize in the world and the largest arts award in the UK. It seeks out innovation and exceptional achievement in museums and galleries across the country and works to encourage more people to visit.