TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE POSTAL SERVICE, AND WHAT YOU DO
We have a number of lonely monsters signed up to the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies letter exchange service who are eager for communication and to find out more about humans and their worlds. Current correspondents include a yeti, a gremlin, a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy and a dragon.
At the postal counter in store, and soon from anywhere, humans of all ages are able to write to any of these monsters for a small fee (see below). Working under the Post-Monster General we help ensure delivery of humans' letters and facilitate getting monsters' replies back to the them.
We read all the correspondence between the humans and monsters to make sure there are no issues. You definitely don't want to give a monster your home address for instance because despite how lovely all the monster correspondents are, a friendly surprise visit can be a huge shock even to the steadiest of humans. Likewise you don't want monsters handing out monstering secrets to humans who might inadvertently misuse them to terrifying effect.
We also check that the letters are written in a form that humans can understand (the mummy is prone to write in hieroglyphs, and annoyingly often the werewolf writes in howls). Replies are generally delivered by flying monkey or broom delivery within one month.
Is the service popular?
Hundreds of letters have been exchanged since the postal service opened to the public. Although we have many local correspondents, the monsters also have lots of international pen pals and we facilitated replies to humans all over the world. We're looking to make the service available online too, so hopefully soon we can connect even more humans and monsters. Keep and eye on the website for announcements of this service.
One thing that's surprising is that it’s not just human children that want to communicate with monsters - many adult humans do too. Knowing you’re writing to a monster gives human adults licence to go back to childhood and allow their imagination take flight.
Everybody should write letters – it’s not as hard as you think it is.
Why do you think the Postal Service has been so successful?
Most humans don’t sit down to write letters like they used to. When you write a letter you are sharing a moment of your life with somebody, and that’s what the monsters are doing too. It’s a way to connect worlds. For example, Elgorn the fire-breathing dragon often sneezes and burns the letters he’s received, so one child helpfully suggested that he might use a fire extinguisher, complete with an illustration. Another lady wanted advice from Betty (a yeti) on how to decorate a cave.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Most find the fact that we help run a postal service for monsters and humans incredibly intriguing. We love reading the letters from humans and thinking about their experience of receiving their replies, which are all unique and special. Postal-Service Admin team doesn’t sound exciting on the face of it, but it’s a really fun job and we have a great team who enjoy swinging from the filing cabinets.
Did you know?
Due to a rather inconvenient curse, all profits from the Postal Service and Hoxton Street Monster Supplies go to creative writing charity for mini humans, Ministry of Stories, hidden behind the shop’s secret door.
The postal counter is open during normal shop hours - even when the postmaster is away on lunch. Which she has been for 71/2 years now.
Letters cost £5 (£2 for local Hoxton children), plus £1 if you want the monster's reply posted to you rather than collected in store
For more information call 020 7729 4159; monstersupplies.org
We would like to thank all the amazing gremlin volunteers who give their time to make the postal service so special.
Photography © Alistair Hall alistairhall.co.uk