Royal Mail Post Boxes of West Hallam and Mapperley
Royal Mail post boxes have been around much longer than telephone boxes and they are likely to outlive them. “Snail mail” has been under threat ever since the birth of the telephone, and you might think that the internet, email and social media would kill it off altogether and spell the end of the post box. Their future is safe, however, because of an agreement between Royal Mail and English Heritage that they should be retained and conserved.
All post boxes bear a Royal Cipher indicating which monarch was on the throne at the time they were installed. The two villages have boxes from the following reigns:
In total there are nine boxes in West Hallam and Mapperley, seven of them currently in use. There are three different designs: the rectangular type set into a wall, the pillar box, and the small “lamp” box mounted on a post. They are all made of cast iron.
There are two wall-mounted boxes, both decommissioned when their respective post offices were closed down. The one at the former post office in West Hallam, opposite the Dales, was installed post-1952. The box on the wall of Mapperley’s old post office dates from the reign of George V, making it one of the two oldest in our villages. Both have been sealed and painted black, a legal requirement for redundant boxes.
Three pillar boxes survive. The oldest of these (1910-1936) is at the entrance to the Dales car park, and I suspect this is not its original location. The other two are both George VI models. One of these is on High Lane West outside the house at the junction with Park Hall Lane. There used to be a post office in the wooden building at the side of the house. The other is on High Lane East on the corner of Lewcote Lane. There was also post office here at number 15, later moving to where the Lanes Nursery is now, before being closed down.
A few days after the photograph of this last pillar box was taken (July, 2016), the grey box on a post on the left was removed by Royal Mail. This was a “bag drop box”, installed so that mail could be dropped there by van for postal workers on foot to pick up on their round. The scheme did not last long and for the last four years all deliveries in the area are made by a postal worker in a van.
The remaining four boxes are mounted on posts and are all from the reign of the present Queen. The first of these is Mapperley’s only functioning box and is next to the lych-gate of Holy Trinity Church. The second is at the junction of Peveril Crescent and Darley Drive. The other two are on High Lane Central near the Bottle Kiln and on High Lane East outside number 183.