Re: Re: Post boxes

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Irish Examiner 19 January 2007

Our heritage to be sealed for posterity

By Conor Ryan
MOVES are afoot to protect one of the most enduring gifts Ireland gave the British Empire.

The future of the once-red but now green pillar post box, the inspiration of an Ireland-based postal inspector, is to be secured.

Pat Ruane, Cork City’s conservation officer, said 47 pillar post boxes would be included on its list of protected structures.

“We are not only looking to protect houses and architecture but also items like post boxes that carry their own history. It is not all post boxes, just the cast metal ones that have historical value. It really says something that these are still functioning, for what they were made for. They are the type of thing you can walk past every day but when they go you know something’s missing.

“They do tell their own history. You can see through the years they carried different insignia of Queen Victoria first, then King Edward and King George, but since Irish independence you see the SÉ stamp for the Free State or the Post and Telegraph crest.”

The city’s conservation officials have also added another non-building to the list: the lime kiln in the gardens of Orchard Road which was used by the Jennings Mineral Water Company.

The preservation list includes one of the country’s oldest post boxes at Kent Station, which was installed in 1857 shortly after British Post Office began installing the free-standing boxes, which were the brainchild of Ireland-based inspector, Anthony Trollope.

He was among Britain’s leading novelists in the mid-19th century but spent most of his early working life as a postal inspector in Ireland.

His time here inspired most of his early novels and his famous invention. He wrote: “It was altogether a very jolly life that I led in Ireland. The Irish people did not murder me, nor did they break my head. I soon found them to be good- humoured, clever, economical and hospitable.”

Today his designs remain as remnants of the British Empire, but although the older boxes were originally red they were painted green after the War of Independence.

The city council is inviting people to offer their views on the proposal to protect the post boxes and other historical sites by writing to Director of Services Kevin Terry before February 28.

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