Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Very Old Postbox in the Wall

Pre 1890: the interesting postbox set in a wall

There's an unusual  postbox around the corner, set in the wall of Montpelier Terrace, in which many Temple Street residents still post their letters. All we knew about it was that it was Victorian, and looked interesting. Roger Amerena of the Brighton and Hove Heritage Commission, was consulted. He is not only a fount of knowledge about our area, but lives just feet away from the box in Montpellier Hall.

Mr Amerena has provided just what we needed. He writes

'The two identical Montpelier Terrace and Temple Gardens wall letter boxes are from the 1887 series known as "the Jubilee Boxes".

W.T.Allen and Co of London were awarded the contract to make them in 1886 and that company continued to produce these same styles for another 75 years.

Allen's produced three sizes which were in production for this period. Type A, the largest; Type B WB/85 (formerly No 1) which are in situ in Montpelier Terrace and Temple Gardens; and Type C (No 2).

Type B is fairly common nationally but still important in postal history. In Brighton it was rare. The style was installed in Brighton prior to Hove Corporation being established in the 1890's. Thus there are not known any to be placed in Hove.
I understand the Montpelier box was installed for Alderman Sir Joseph Ewart JP MD, who was Mayor of Brighton three times from 1891 to 1894.
Alderman Sir Joseph was ex Irish Militia and Deputy Surgeon General of the Bengal Army, and been in service during the Indian Mutiny. He later became Surgeon General of the Indian Army, and after contracting typhoid, retired to Brighton in 1879 to live in Montpellier Hall. 
For mayoral duties this box would have been important to him – in those days you could post a letter in the morning and get a reply in the afternoon. The Brighton telephone service had not quite arrived.'

No comments:

Post a Comment