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Belfast council votes on listed status for red post boxes

A woman posts a letter in the King George V cast iron post box located at Bristow Park, Belfast
A woman posts a letter in the King George V cast iron post box located at Bristow Park, Belfast
A parliamentary boundary post

By Rebecca Black

Post boxes and boundary posts may go unnoticed by most people as they go about their daily lives, but now a number of them in Belfast are being considered for historic listing.

In total, 19 post boxes across the city, including some which are more than 100 years old, may receive B listing status.

Eight cast iron parliamentary boundary posts are also being considered for B2 listing.

The historic posts, which date back to 1918, also serve as a marker for the first Westminster election in the then UK and Ireland, when almost everyone, except women under 30, had the right to vote.

A number of the posts have been destroyed over the years due to roads being widened or other works. Currently none of them enjoy any level of listing.

The post boxes range in age and include one on Agincourt Avenue close to the corner of Rugby Road, erected in the late 19th century and bearing Queen Victoria's Royal cipher.

The number of surviving Victoria post boxes in Belfast is unknown, but they are believed to be rare.

Another two date back to the short reign of King Edward VII (1901-10). A further 15 were erected during the reign of King George V (1910-36).

The post boxes and boundary posts are currently being considered for listing by the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities.

Belfast City Council's Planning Committee is being asked for its opinion on the proposal, and the issue has been listed on the minutes of its next meeting, tomorrow night.

John Anderson, vice-chair of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, welcomed the proposals.

"These distinctive cast iron pillar boxes and boundary posts are an authentic remnant of what was once commonplace in Belfast, where iron watering troughs, crested Belfast Corporation Tramway junction boxes, public drinking fountains and the corner protectors which prevented damage to masonry from contact with iron shod cart wheels, comprised what is now blandly termed, and often blandly designed, 'street furniture'," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The 'pillars and posts' not only preserve some individuality for Belfast footpaths but complement conserved buildings and streetscapes and provide local reference points. This is in addition to displaying fine examples of the craftsmanship of the patternmakers and iron founders who created these most durable and distinctive local landmarks," Mr Anderson added.

Belfast Telegraph


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