You might think that letter boxes are strange items to claim fame to in our lovely regency town of Cheltenham. However our “claim to fame” is that we have at least 7 of the original Victorian Penfold boxes still in daily use.
John Wormald Penfold [1828 – 1909] was commissioned by the then Postmaster General in the 1860s to design a new letter box. He designed what is now known as the “Penfold” letter box. The boxes were to be hexagonal, the top decorated with acanthus leaves, bud and decorative balls. Only about 20 of the earliest designs of Penfolds survive in the whole of the UK, according to English Heritage.
Sadly a few years ago one of “our” boxes was knocked down. However plans are afoot to have it recast and replaced. Another box is on display in The Wilson Museum.
When this incarceration is at an end, you might like to take a walk round them all (about 5 miles distance) with ample sights along the way (including a walk through Pittville Park in front of the Pump Room and a stroll down Montpellier Walk past the caryatids). The route encompasses plenty of refreshment breaks and I am sure these will all welcome visitors!
I have devised a map showing their whereabouts - the one below is in Douro Road, so do get in touch if you would like a copy.