Respect! – for the ‘Penfold Hexagonal’

The Penfold Hexagonal in Pulteney Street - complete with fly-posting.
The pillar post-box on the London Road
The pillar post-box on the London Road

It is, he said, faded and defaced. It’s little companion coin-in-the-slot stamp dispenser empty and forgotten.

This is a ‘GR’ pillar – that’s George the Sixth – which dates the letterbox to the 1930’s.

Meanwhile, I was dismayed to see a much earlier and rarer box looking in a similar sorry state on Great Pulteney Street.

The Penfold Hexagonal in Pulteney Street - complete with fly-posting.
The Penfold Hexagonal in Pulteney Street – complete with fly-posting.

This time it’s the ‘Penfold Hexagonal’ – a letter box dating from the reign of Queen Victoria and designed by a man called J.W.Penfold. It is now bearing the efforts of a passing fly-poster.

These decorative boxes were made in Birmingham and installed between 1866 and 1879. There is another towards Pulteney Bridge on Laura Place.

Here’s a black and white image of the Pulteney Street pillar being emptied by postman Keith Costello back in 1970.

PostmanPostman Keith Costello collecting from the Emett-like post box in Great Pulteney Street April 1970 © Bath in Time - Bath Central Library Collection The box was in danger of disappearing when the lock became worn out, until Chubb said they could make a copy if they could borrow the lock.
Postman Keith Costello collecting from the post box in Great Pulteney Street April 1970
© Bath in Time – Bath Central Library Collection
The box was in danger of disappearing when the lock became worn out, until Chubb said they could make a copy if they could borrow the lock.

The image is now part of the excellent Bath In Time collection and l was interested to read how the box might have been removed if Chubb the Locksmiths had not made a new lock for it!

It is great to think the pillar box is still in use – despite the fact not everyone respects its unique place on this street. Bath also has a Postal Museum and you can find out more via http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk