A year of monstrous correspondence
To celebrate the first anniversary of our neighbour Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Postal Service opening to humans we caught up with two cupboard-dwelling gremlins, part of the very special volunteer team who help deliver letters to lonely monsters behind the scenes.
Tell us a little bit about the Postal Service and what you do?
We have six lonely monsters (Betty the yeti, Pudding the gremlin, Luca the vampire, Red the Werewolf, Lapis the mummy and Elgorn the dragon) signed up to the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies letter exchange service, eager to find out more about humans and their worlds. Humans of all ages are able to write to them for a small fee and we work under the Post-Monster General to help deliver their letters and facilitate replies from the monsters.
We read all the correspondence between the humans and monsters to make sure there are no safeguarding concerns – you definitely wouldn’t want to give a monster your home address – and check that the letters are written in a form that humans can understand (Lapis is prone to write in hieroglyphs, Red howls)…Replies are delivered by flying monkey or broom delivery within one month.
How many letters have been written over the last year?
Almost 300 letters have been exchanged since the Postal Service opened to the public a year ago. Although we have many local correspondents, the monsters also have lots of international pen pals and we have posted replies all over the world. We’re looking to make the service available online in the future, so hopefully we can connect even more people.
What’s surprising is that it’s not just children and young people that want to write to a monster, many adults do too. The idea that you’re writing to a monster gives you licence to go back to being a child and let your imagination take flight.
Everybody should write letters – it’s not as hard as you think it is.
Why do you think the Postal Service been so successful?
Most people 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 their 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 on how to decorate a cave.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Most people find the fact that we help run a postal service for monsters incredibly intriguing. We love reading the letters from children and thinking about them 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 service is open during normal shop hours:
Thursday — 1pm to 5pm
Friday — 1pm to 5pm
Saturday — 11am to 5pm
Letters cost £5 (£2 for local Hoxton children).
For more information call 020 7729 4159; monstersupplies.org
We would like to thank all the amazing volunteers who give their time to make the postal service so special.
Photography © Alistair Hall alistairhall.co.uk