Thursday 25 October 2012


On my way to Chislehurst Caves, I happened across this lovely - if leaning - Penfold letterbox. The model is named after its designer, John Wornham Penfold - an architect who also designed Goldsmiths College's main building in New Cross. (It was originally the Naval Training School.)

This was the standard pillar box design in the 1870s, and the first to be manufactured in red. However, it was expensive to produce so was replaced by a plainer, round model. About 150 Penfolds survive, but they are so popular that the Post Office have recently supplied about 100 replicas to various locations. 

Readers of a certain age will recognise the name Penfold. Dangermouse's hamster sidekick was named after these boxes!


Anonymous said...

I like to come across these old pillar boxes (and wall boxes) and to think of the generations of people sending letters and cards on all sorts of topics in all sorts of moods through their agency. When I was a kid in Brighton we had a pillar box at the end of our street in which I posted all my correspondence. Perhaps my love of the pillar box stems from the excitement associated with that one.

Once you begin to look more closely "the" pillar box (the amorphous round red thing) disappears, and you become aware of the differences in design, royal cyphers and so on.

It is a credit to their designers and makers that some of the oldest are still with us and in daily use.

CarolineLD said...

Yes, I do love the variety of them - and the continuity. As you say, there's something special about a 150-year-old pillar box still being in everyday use.