Friday 6 September 2019

London’s Postal Museum new exhibition launching in October: The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post

The Postal Museum announces new exhibition, The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post, opening 11 October 2019

High-value packets from the Great Train Robbery ripped open by the thieves © The Postal Museum

The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post, with a season of events including October half-term activities for mini detectives, book signings, talks and workshops for true-crime fans.
On the night of 8 August 1963, a gang of armed criminals boarded a Royal Mail train en route to Euston station in London. Dangerous and organised they escaped with a staggering £2.6 million (£50 million in today’s money).

The Postal Museum’s new temporary exhibition The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post, launching in October, will shine a light on the victims of this infamous crime and the involvement of the Post Office Investigation Branch in tracing the perpetrators of the Great Train Robbery and other crimes, from mass murder to forgeries. A largely unknown organisation and one of the oldest units of its kind in the world, its heroic detectives put their lives on the line to solve high profile crimes and bring those responsible to justice.

Visitors to the exhibition will be immersed in the work of the Branch, stepping into an interactive 1960s postal investigation office to piece together crimes and uncover investigation techniques.

This will lead them on to the Great Train Robbery investigation, viewed through never-before-seen objects, artefacts and personal accounts including: 

  • The original high-value packets ripped open by the robbers to get to the cash inside
  • Never-before-seen files and evidence including observation reports detailing the movements of the criminals, their associates and a suspect list
  • Recently released first-hand witness accounts from those onboard the train as the robbery took place

Armed with this information the exhibition will ask visitors to reflect on the question - Does the ‘Crime of the Century’ deserve to be celebrated and glamorised?
Joanna Espin, curator at The Postal Museum, said;

“The Great Train Robbery is known around the world as one of the most audacious crimes of the 20th Century. The perpetrators went on to become cult heroes, but do they deserve this accolade?

“This exhibition revisits the case, unearthing the role of the Post Office’s own investigation department in piecing together this and other crimes, as well as shedding light on the human stories of the victims through never before seen artefacts, objects and personal accounts.

“We want our visitors to leave the exhibition with a new perspective on this infamous crime, ultimately making up their own minds as to how it should be remembered.”

 Crime Season at The Postal Museum

This autumn, The Postal Museum will be celebrating the opening of the exhibition with an exciting line up of crime investigation themed events for families and adults alike.

From an October half-term packed with family-friendly activities including storytelling sessions, arts & crafts workshops and a unique detective training trail around the museum to a series of exclusive adult events giving an insight into the world of criminal investigation, there’s something for all ages.

Visitors to the adult events will be able to indulge their true crime obsession with the chance to meet acclaimed authors and historians, such as Gordon Lowe and Andrew Cook, as well as a private investigator, who will be talking about some of the most infamous crimes in British history and get copies of their books signed, as well as take part in hands-on workshops stepping into a live crime scene and learning a range of forensic science skills to solve a murder case.

Times and dates

The Great Train Robbery: Crime and the Post opens on 11 October 2019 and admission is included in the ticket price for The Postal Museum. Tickets are currently available to 31 December 2019.

Family activities will take place from Monday 21 October to Saturday 26 October. The adult events programme starts on Sunday 13 October with more events to be added in 2020. Full details are available online

What’s on

Family Programme - Mini Detective Training
Mon 21 October
Storytelling: Mini Detective Tales

11.30, 13.30
Best for ages 5-8, but all ages welcome
Tue 22 October

Arts & Crafts: Crime-fighting Gadget Making
Design and build your own anti-crime experimental equipment from recycled materials, inspired by the Crime Prevention Briefcase from our new temporary exhibition.


Best for ages 5-11, but all ages welcome
Wed 23 October
Book Reading and Activities: The Great Brain Robbery
Meet author of The Great Brain Robbery, P. G. Bell in the underground Mail Rail Depot, listen to thrilling train tales and have your copy signed.

Plus join in on special arts and crafts to make your own mysterious sliding train greetings card.
Arts & Crafts:
11.00 -16.00

Author Talk:

Book Signing:

All ages
Thu 24 October

Arts & Crafts: ‘WANTED’ Poster Making

Use printing techniques to create a ‘WANTED’ poster of your own escapee character linked to our new exhibition, The Great Train Robbery: Crime and the Post. This workshop is led by RCA artist, Susie Foster.



Best for ages 5-8, but all ages welcome
Fri 25 October

Mini Detective Trail
Are you ready to be a Post Office detective? Solve clues in our gallery and find the culprit in our postal mystery! Pick up your trail on your visit and keep your eyes peeled.


All ages
Sat 26 October

Arts & Crafts: Mysterious Mail

Make your own mysterious sliding train postcard, inspired by the bold Agatha Christie 2016 stamp designs.
11.00-13.00 14.00-16.00
Best for ages 5-8, but all ages welcome
Events and Workshops for Adults
Thu 24 October
Andrew Cook Talk: The Great Train Robbery
Join Andrew Cook, critically acclaimed historian and author to explore one of the most infamous crimes in British History; The Great Train Robbery.
Book online from £15
Adult only
Sun 13 Oct 19
Sun 24 Oct 19
Sat 7 Dec 19
Sat 18 Jan 20
Sat 15 Feb 20
Sat 14 Mar 20
Post Mortem: Crime Scene Investigation Workshop
Step into a live crime scene and solve the case with your new-found skills in this hands-on workshop. Collect, examine and record the evidence just like forensic investigator!

Book online
Adult only
Mon 11 November
Gordon Lowe Talk: Trials and Abductions
Join author Gordon Lowe to explore the infamous Black Panther murders and the psychology behind his crimes in this evening talk.

Book online from £15
Adult only
Thu 13 February
Talk: Diaries of a Private Investigator
What are the surveillance tools that modern day investigators use? Meet Charlotte Thornber, Director and Founder of Taylor Investigations, and find out about the secret world of private investigations.

Book online from £15
Adult only