In July 2013 we visited Liverpool in search of post boxes… EVIII boxes, an upright fluted box in Birkenhead, the two Liverpool Special boxes and an original Queen Victoria Penfold Pillar Box. Everything was ticked off on our box apart from the last one on our list, the VR Penfold. It had disappeared. We immediately contacted Arthur Reeder from the IOW Postal Museum and the Letter Box Study Group and he confirmed it was missing and it’s current whereabouts were unknown. He gave us the challenge of finding it!
We went to the local sorting office in Everton and when Mr C asked if they could help us find a missing pillar box they thought it was a joke! So when we got home I started a search. I wrote a blog and circulated it around the web:
I had a reply from the Conservation department at Liverpool City Council, they weren’t aware it had gone, serious business when a listed item disappears. So I’d made a start, now to continue digging. Out of the blue I received a tweet from someone calling themselves Abercromby Square on twitter, this included a photo that instantly brought tears to my eyes.
I immediately sent the photo to the Conservation department at Liverpool City Council as well as the Letter Box Study Group.
Only a couple of days later I received confirmation that the pillar box had been found! Yes it had been in a collision with a moving vehicle and had been put in a workshop on the University campus where I can only presume that someone was hoping it would be forgotten about. Thank heavens the Conservation department were now onto it.
The reply I received from the Conservation department at Liverpool City Council on 3 September 2013.
I have tracked down the pillar box within the University workshop and agreed a proposed welded repair of the metal casing. The University are now carrying this out under an insurance claim. The pillar box hit by a reversing vehicle last year causing it to sheer off at the base and shatter into several pieces on the pavement.
The proposal is to move the pillar box to an alternative position on the same corner but within Abercromby Square. This is necessary in order to protect the pillar from further vehicle damage by placing it on a section of pavement that benefits from a traditional raised curb. Chatham Street no longer benefits from a raised pavement due to the new landscaping scheme implemented by the University, which is why the vehicle impact damage occurred.
An application for listed building consent is to be submitted by the University in due course to formally agree the small change in location of this grade II listed building before it is reinstated. English Heritage will be consulted as part of this process.
Thanks again for your interest and concern for Liverpool’s heritage and we look forward to you visiting once the repaired pillar box is installed.
On 6 November 2013 I was told by LCC:
The listed building application for the re-siting of the Pillar Box has been approved. I would anticipate seeing the feature reinstated early next year.
I’m just so glad that Arthur Reeder gave me the challenge of finding this pillar box. I’m still waiting to hear the exact date when the pillar box will be re-sited on Abercromby Square and yes I will be there as soon after the event as possible, though it would be lovely to be there whilst it’s happening. I really can’t wait to see this pillar box standing tall once more on the campus of Liverpool University, it will be a proud moment.
Since all this has happened I have finally joined the Letter Box Study Group. If you have a love of post boxes find out more at www.lbsg.org Post boxes are part of our social history and are all around us, and it’s amazing just how many people love to chat about them!
I was in Liverpool last week and we drove down Abercromby Square, how great it would have been if there had been a flash of red on the corner with Chatham Street, hopefully next time we’re there it will be back!
So having an inquisitive mind is good!
Having a love of post boxes is good!
My favourite saying when out and about is… Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around!