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Dickens' postbox recommissioned in Gads Hill

PUBLISHED: 10:23 10 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:23 10 December 2014

Royal Mail

Royal Mail

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The historic box was first requested by Charles Dickens in 1859

Charles Dickens’ postbox, which was installed in Gads Hill, Higham by Royal Mail at the author’s request in the 19th century, has been recommissioned and put back into service following a special ceremony held on December 10.

Mr Dickens was a prolific letter writer, and had requested that Royal Mail installed a postbox outside his home in 1859, so that he could quickly and easily post his letters. However, the postbox became less well used, falling into disrepair and not being used since the 1990s.

The Charles Dickens Centre Charitable Trust, and the Letter Box Study Group alerted Royal Mail to the historical and cultural significance of the postbox, and asked if it could be put back into service.

The postbox was officially reopened outside Dickens’ former home and now school, Gads Hill Place, by his great, great granddaughter, Marion Dickens.

A special postmark will also be applied to mail posted in the box bearing the letters ‘CD’, in tribute to the way Dickens used to seal his mail before he posted it. The postmark will be applied from December 15 to December.

Sue Whalley, Chief Operations Officer at Royal Mail, said: “We’re delighted to bring back a postbox of Christmas past, used by one of the greatest authors of all time, Charles Dickens.

“In the 19th century, Dickens asked for this postbox to be installed as he was a prolific letter writer, and often referred to the postbox and his postman in the letters he wrote. We’re really pleased to re-open it so people can follow in his footsteps and post their mail in the same box, just as he did.”

Marion Dickens said: “In our digital world, handwritten letters are more appreciated than ever. Being able to post mine in the letterbox regularly used by my great-great-grandfather makes me feel thrillingly close to him.

“He wrote a dozen letters every day and made excellent use of this box, and the new postal services that were developing all over the country in his lifetime.

“144 years after he posted his last letter from Gad’s Hills, it’s wonderful that the Royal Mail have made it possible for me to do exactly the same. I am inspired to post a special letter about today’s celebration to Charles’ very youngest descendent, my 12-week-old granddaughter, Molly Makeni Dickens Forsyth. She can keep it forever and I hope it helps to bring her extraordinary great-great-great-great-grandfather to life. I hope she will love letters as much as I do, and as he did.”

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