Sunday, November 24, 2019

Victorian postbox in Old Kilcullen restored

Christy Howard, Colm Feely and son, and Fergus Aspell.
A Family Christmas at the Old Postbox in Old Kilcullen will officially mark the restoration of an important part of the area's heritage, writes Brian Byrne.

The event on 8 December, beginning at 4pm, will be at the Victorian-era letterbox, located in the remains of an old wall just opposite Brennans Bar.

Long disused, the box has been restored by the Old Kilcullen Area Community Association, and the remains of the original wall built up into a small landscaped seating area. Among those involved in the project were OKACA chairman Christy Howard, Colm Feely, Fergus Aspell, Pat Domican and stonemason Brendan Cullen.

"It's the first of a number of local heritage items that the Association will be restoring over the coming years," says Christy. "The next will be putting back in place the pump that used to be just down the road from the postbox."

In fact, there were originally seven such water pumps serving families around Old Kilcullen, and a long-term project is to refurbish them all as heritage landmarks.

Though not in service for many years, the key of the Old Kilcullen postbox was still in the possession of former postman Tommy Howard, who retired in 2012.

"We repaired whatever needed to be done with the box, so we can use it for special purposes," says Christy. The first of these will be at the 8 December event, when local children will be able to post letters to Santa in it. There will also be light refreshments, carols, and spot prizes at the celebration.

The VR symbol references 'Victoria Regina', whose coronation was in 1838. There are later ones of similar design with an E VII R designation, relating to Victoria's successor, King Edward VII.

The Victorian post boxes were a result of the 'penny post', introduced to Britain and Ireland by Rowland Hill in 1840.

The wall-mounted examples like the Old Kilcullen version are still found in various parts of the country, many in rural areas. They are made of cast iron.

Originally coloured red, as is still the case in the United Kingdom, those in Ireland have been painted green since 1922.

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