Cathedral Pillar boxes

DurhamI noticed that at the last three cathedrals we visited there was a pillar box close by and I began to wonder if there was some unwritten rule that a pillar box should always be provided near any cathedral. Why is there such a need for pillar boxes there? Who are the avid letter writers? They almost look out of place, as if they have escaped the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre or commercial area, to find peace and solace in the cathedral green or precinct, and who can blame them?

The most noteworthy of these three photographs is this Penfold hexagonal Victorian pillar box near Durham Cathedral. However, it is not actually a Victorian box. It is a replica, (is that a polite word for fake?) which was installed in the late 1980’s. Once you know that, and look at the overall condition, you realise it is not as old as it claims to be.

The Community of Cuthbert arrived in Durham from Lindisfarne in 995 and built an Anglo-Saxon cathedral. Construction of the Cathedral as we know it today was started in 1093 by Bishop William of St Calais. Amazing to think the construction of the cathedral and the unveiling of this pillar box spans a period of over 900 years.

Cathedral post boxes back
The second postcard if from Gloucester Cathedral. This is the closest a pillar box got to the door of the cathedral so far!


And finally, a pillar box located at The Close adjacent to Lichfield Cathedral.


5 thoughts on “Cathedral Pillar boxes

  1. Nice shots. I particularly like the photograph of the one at Gloucester Cathedral.
    Should you ever venture to Sheffield Cathedral you will see another Penfold Hexagonal Post Box in close proximity! Interestingly the one near Sheffield Cathedral is also a replica!
    The one in Sheffield has been modified to reduce the size of the post slot so that only thin letters and cards can be posted(?).
    I was interested to see your blog post featuring three post boxes having recently posted three different post boxes on my own site, I’ve added a link below should you wish to see them.
    You might find the Alphabetti Spaghetti post box a little less common than the Penfold Hexagonal. In fact there are only three in existence!
    Best wishes
    Mr C 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting indeed! I am sure Andrew is right. There is a large community of people working and living in most Cathedral closes and up until recently (before the age of the internet) many letters would have been sent out each day. With regard to replicas. Most of the older postboxes in this country have been stolen either for the valuable metal from which they are made or to supply collectors. All of our ancient Victorian postboxes in my locality have been stolen and eventually replaced with plastic in the last few years. Perhaps the cathedral ones were replaced before they were stolen and so the powers that be had time to make replicas instead of just providing the modern versions.

    Liked by 1 person

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