Victorian pillar box to return nearly 20 years after being ploughed down
PUBLISHED: 11:24 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 23 September 2019
They are as much an English icon as black cabs, Beefeaters and cups of tea.
One even provided the secret headquarters of world-renowned rodent spy Danger Mouse.
And in Norwich, an iconic red post box is finally set to be returned to the street, years after being taken out of action when a vehicle ploughed into it.
Believed to have been first put in place in 1886, the pillar box on Gentleman's Walk was one of just 50 'Penfolds' nationwide and its design was reported in this newspaper to have been personally approved by Queen Victoria.
However, since 2001, the hexagonal scarlet letter receptacle has been locked away in storage having been damaged by a vehicle and ultimately replaced with a replica the following year, which is stationed by the St Peters Street motorcycle park.
Now though, the Royal Mail has taken the decision to reinstall the original, grade two-listed box, having finally completed a full renovation of it.
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The resurrection though has not come without complications, as changes to the pavement since it was removed have meant it cannot be safely put back in its last position.
Instead, it will be placed on the corner of St Peters Street and Bethel Street, close to City Hall - and slightly closer to the location where it first stood.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Our 115,300 post boxes form an iconic part of communities across the UK - they play a key role in connecting consumers, communities and companies and we put a great deal of effort into maintaining them.
"We take particular care over our heritage post boxes which are rich in history and can enhance the local environment. If they are damaged we seek to repair and reinstall them whenever we can."
The Royal Mail would not divulge how much it has cost to renovate the heralded relic and it awaits planning permission from Norwich City Council to reinstall it.
Meanwhile, the replica currently stands incased in a tarpaulin waiting to be delivered into storage, until duty calls for it once more.