No 'ugly stick' as Royal Mail returns village's vintage postbox

Villagers are rejoicing after their cherished vintage postbox was re-instated after its future was thrown in to doubt when a truck hit it. Residents of Bearsted, near Maidstone, were outraged at the suggestion their red Royal Mail receptacle may be “too expensive” to fix after the collision on March 22.

The shiny newly restored postbox in Manor Rise The shiny newly restored postbox in Manor Rise

Workers at the scene had told them the GBP4,000 repair cost might be too much for the firm to shell out. But people living near the cast-iron pillar box on the corner of Manor Rise and Yeoman Lane said the cost didn’t matter and one described the incident as like “the loss of a much-loved friend.”

They feared it would be replaced by an “ugly box on a stick”.

The original postbox had been made by the Lion Foundry Co Ltd of Kirkintilloch – on the Clyde. The firm had the contract both for the GPO’s (General Post Office) pillar boxes and the classic red telephone booths. It was the termination of the telephone box orders that drove the company out of business about 37 years ago.

Previously they had been supplying customers all over the world for over a century. David Cockerham said at the time: “Our box made by them was a precious piece of industrial history.”

But now it’s back and residents admit it’s looking better than ever. Mr Cockerham said: “It’s so nice to have its splendid features back to welcome us home.

“I’m slightly flattered that the Royal Mail actually matched the brickwork topping of the gateposts I built, rather than putting the postbox’s old concrete hat back on top of it! “Rather handy actually, since it was the overhanging concrete that the truck hit.”

The damaged postbox with its concrete hat The damaged postbox with its concrete hat

Royal Mail completed work on Monday. The campaign to see the old box returned involved Cllr Valerie Springett and Bearsted Parish Council.

My Cockerham said:”It’s a great victory.

I would like to thank all those involved.”

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