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Cats will revive tradition at new-look Postal Museum

The museum is looking for cats to represent it on social media

18 August, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Charlie, the current Post Office cat, likes to be cuddled but has a ‘mouser reputation’

THE newly-opened Postal Museum is hiring honorary cats, restarting a mouser tradition that is almost 150 years old.

The first Post Office cat was taken on in 1868 to catch mice who were shredding letters. The cats were paid a shilling a week, which went on their food and general upkeep.

Now, the museum in Phoenix Place, Clerkenwell, is asking people to submit photos of their pets online to win a cat-size postman’s hat and the chance for their pet’s photo to hang in the museum office – and for the pet to represent the museum on social media. The museum wanted a real cat but this was impossible because of the danger of damage to its archive.

“The cats are not expected to attend work, but they will represent the postal museum on social media.

Every month a new cat will be nominated,” said Harry Huskisson, from the Postal Museum.

Tibs, the last Post Office cat, who died in 1965

The last paid Post Office cat was Tibs, who roamed the corridors of PO headquarters in the City. The death of the 23lb cat in 1965 made it onto the cover of the staff magazine distributed throughout the country.

Charlie, who belongs to Mr Huskisson, is currently standing in until the first cat is chosen next month. Charlie, who lives with Mr Huskisson’s parents in Devon, is a “wuss who always wants to be cuddled, but with a mouser reputation” – making him a perfect interim candidate.

The Mail Rail tunnels will reopen to the public next month

From next month, Mail Rail tunnels at the museum will be reopened, allowing people to ride on trains through previously abandoned tunnels under Mount Pleasant Sorting Office – where cats are not allowed to roam.

Mail Rail tickets have already sold out for September and October with only a few weekday dates left for November.

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