A few Canterbury letter boxes are worth a second look (let us know if you wish to suggest others):
- The heavy traffic of Military Road passes Canterbury’s only remaining Victorian letter box (Image 1) – in the brick wall not far from the entrance to C W Lyons funeral business (Image 2), itself worth a second look as it was once vicarage to St Gregory’s church. The type is known to aficionados as WB (wall box) 77. As marked on the bottom panel, it was made by W T Allen & Co London, under a contract won by that company in 1881. Such boxes are not uncommon, but this one rates as a rarity as it is closed by a metal plate to show it is not in use, and in place of collection times it has a short historical description of the box (Image 3). This is now dirty and difficult to read. It says: “This Victorian post box was installed circa 1880 and remained in use until mid 1990. Due to its capacity no longer meeting the requirements of the local community and problems of clearance following highway modernisation, it was decided to withdraw the box from service. This box is now retained for its historical interest and link with Canterbury…”
- Another wall box, this one in The Borough at the Mint Yard Gate entrance to King’s School (Image 4) , looks at first glance to bear the very common E II R insignia for the present monarch. A more detailed look shows lettering E VII R so this box dates from the reign of Edward VII ie 1901 to 1910. This style of box came into use in 1901.
- A second Edward VII box stands in Longport, a third (out of use) in Wincheap close to Wincheap Tools, and a fourth in Nunnery Fields (Images 5, 6, and 7), all smaller wall boxes. A fifth, a free standing box, stands beside Canterbury East station (Image 8). Note on Images 5, 6 and 8, the later ‘scrolled’ royal insignia with curly ends to the letters E and R.
Sources: Robinson (1985); Robinson (2000)