Russell-Cooke’s charity and social business team were the principal lawyers who advised the Postal Heritage Trust on its development of The Postal Museum.
The London attraction (opened in full on 4 September 2017), offers unique insights into the history of the ‘first social network’ - the UK postal service, as well as Mail Rail, a tourist ride of the underground tunnels which carried letters and parcels across London.
Russell-Cooke’s charity and social business team helped to establish the Trust in 2004 and have assisted its trustees and management team on many issues and developments since then.
Due to the breadth of Russell-Cooke’s expertise, the firm was able to advise and support the Postal Heritage Trust on all of its legal requirements, providing specialist charity, commercial and property law advice, as well as construction and planning law expertise.
Andrew Studd and James Sinclair Taylor, partners in the charity and social business team, began advising on the Postal Museum project in 2011 on a range of matters including funding agreements with Royal Mail Group plc, Post Office Limited, and the Heritage Lottery Fund (who all part-funded the project). The funding agreements involved a complex mix of grants, long and short term loans, sponsorship, and long-term archive services agreements.
Property partners within the team, James McCallum and Mary Cheves, handled the negotiations of the lease of the museum site and a somewhat novel lease of the underground tunnels for the Mail Rail. Their work was complemented by planning expert Alex Ground who negotiated a section 106 agreement (a private agreement between the developer and the local authority regarding planning obligations), as well as the construction team who advised on the construction contracts, on establishing a trading entity and its relationships with the charity, and on the contract to build the unique underground train.
The Postal Museum’s director, Adrian Steel, who featured on BBC Newsnight on 27 July 2017, said “The advice and support of the team at Russell-Cooke has been indispensable in getting us to where we are today. Their flexible approach, coupled with their interest in our project has made them an ideal partner for The Postal Museum.”
Andrew Studd added, “It was really interesting working on London’s latest heritage attraction – who knew there was a secret mail railway under London."