Our swankiest post box ever?

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Where: Meath, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1900

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The eye is immediately drawn to the ancient Cross here in the middle of the town of Kells in Co. Meath, but I don't think we've come across such an ornate post box before. (Or if it isn't a post box, what is it?)

Photographer: Probably Robert French of Lawrence Photographic Studios, Dublin

Date: Circa 1900??

NLI Ref.: L_ROY_05279

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 107247
crossstreet johnstreet kells meath ireland leinster celticcross cross marketcross gaslighting telegraphwires church tower drinkingfountain posters horse carts victualler butcher carcases meat doconnor robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland tumblingpaddy seedmerchant

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  • profile

    O Mac

    • 06/Sep/2013 07:55:00

    It think that's John's Street.Streetview

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 07:58:56

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] It is indeed. There're lovely street signs up on the corner behind the cross.

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    O Mac

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:11:14

    So there is!!.... The gas lighting looks abandoned. No mantle, no glass, bent poles. That thingimabob far right is a "Tumbling Paddy". Used for gathering up loose hay. When so much was gathered it flipped itself and off it went so on.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:38:19

    The Market Cross has been moved up to the Heritage Centre (formerly the 1801 Courthouse).

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:45:24

    It doesn't appear to have the usual postal emblems on it. Is the writing legible on the original?

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:47:19

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Tumbling Paddy! Brilliant name.

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:47:20

    Seems to say "blah blah fasel gesuelz...Or Poor...etc", which wouldn't imply postage really.

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    B-59

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:50:36

    The history of the Market Cross can be read here: photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=1b06decf-4f2d-4075-9dab-d282...

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:51:42

    There's something marked on the 6" but it's not legible: maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,674126,775886,7,7 It's gothic script though so I assume it's the cross rather than the box.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:55:15

    Just uploaded closer view of box. Oddly, I'm getting THE EMPRESS at the top, and BOX POOR on the bottom... Don't laugh, just an immediate impression!

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:57:00

    "FOR THE"..."BOX(?) POOR" I think it's a poor box.

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 08:58:17

    I don't think it's box, btw. It seems to be for the something of the something poor

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 09:00:13

    I think it's "OLD" rather than "THE" at the top and it's not "EMPRESS" either. It ends in "ERS"

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    Niall McAuley

    • 06/Sep/2013 09:14:13

    The church shown is gone (noted as ?) above, is the 1799 RC church. Had some rebuilding in 1890. The current church was built in 1960.

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    derangedlemur

    • 06/Sep/2013 09:37:40

    It's "SICK POOR" at the bottom.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 09:43:37

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] See comments over yonder...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 09:55:35

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregcarey Thank you!

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:00:10

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] That's a grand history! Don't want to tread on local beliefs however, but doubt it was used to hang Croppies... (Not high enough, even allowing for shorter humans in the late 19th century?)

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    Niall McAuley

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:02:09

    In this view, you can see that the newspaper collection box and its streetlight are out in the middle of the road.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:04:25

    Extreme right, there are newspaper billboards - sadly illegible :(

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    Niall McAuley

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:15:31

    Another view, with dog.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:16:59

    Have just had a look at the other view of our Mystery Box as http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley pointed out. My Flabber is completely Gasted, but it really does look like... OLD NEWSPAPERS ... FOR THE ... OF THE SICK POOR ...

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    O Mac

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:22:49

    The bottom line could be ..........'of Kells Hospital' ......The 6" shows a Fever Hospital . maps.osi.ie/publicviewer/#V1,673716,776107,7,8

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 10:26:18

    It could actually http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected], thanks! Very plausible... So might read: OLD NEWSPAPERS ... FOR THE ... OF THE SICK POOR OF KELLS HOSPITAL

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    John Spooner

    • 06/Sep/2013 12:58:12

    Not Kells, but ... Freeman's journal, Friday, July 2, 1897, reported on the weekly meeting of the guardians of the South DuUblin Union, held at the workhouse, St James St. Under the subheading 'Reading for the Infirm' is the sentence (quoting Mr Mooney):

    The board went to the trouble some years ago of getting receiving boxes erected in the city and appealed to public bodies to give old newspapers and magazines for the use of inmates
    and not just newspapers. later:
    The Master - Last week we found a skullcracker in D'Olier street box. Mr. Byrne - Wasn't it well to put it out of harm's way? (Laughter.) The article was produced a few minutes afterwards for the inspection of the guardians. It was a thick stick about a foot and a half long. Mr Byrne - It was sent here for the purpose of enabling the chairman to keep order. (laughter.) Mr. Mooney - And it is all too light for the purpose. (renewed laughter.)
    In an editorial about the matter (the Thomas street library was intending to discontinue its practice of donating its old newspapers), the same edition of Freeman's said: :
    The deadly monotony of the pauper's life renders these glimpses of the outer world an inestimable relief and recreation.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 13:02:17

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnspooner Amazing! So not to raise money, but for poorer people to read?? And what larks at those South Dublin Union meetings! How big must the mouth of the D'Olier Street Box have been, for an 18" skullcracker to be inserted in one piece? (To our D'Olier Street photos, to see if said box can be spotted!)

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    TEXASJOHN

    • 06/Sep/2013 14:26:56

    Sadly we will never know for sure!

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    guliolopez

    • 06/Sep/2013 15:00:59

    Aggh. Looks like I missed the peering again today :) With apologies for hijacking Carol's followers, the Oregon Statue University Commons Project released a number of Irish images recently. Based on the commentary (they are handcoloured slides from a lecture seemingly) they were primarily taken in Cork, Dublin and Tipperary. But two in particular are driving me nuts. This one (of jarveys awaiting fares - presumably in Dublin) looks like it's close to Merrion Square to me - but perhaps someone can pinpoint? And this one (of peat laden carts - presumably outside Dublin) would appear to have enough clues to give-up a location. But I can't seem to put the clues together...

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    B-59

    • 06/Sep/2013 15:44:26

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland The Croppies were possibly those who escaped at Ballinamuck... It seems to me that the cross would be high enough if the hanging person isn't especially tall (in comparison to the persons on the street). However, this would have been a rather macabre use of a cross....

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 06/Sep/2013 15:48:46

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] No problem at all! Sure don't I know that they're unfaithful to us all over the Commons?? :D Will have a look at that allegedly Merrion Square one myself later (if it's not solved in the meantime).

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    B-59

    • 06/Sep/2013 16:07:59

    The Gothic styled chapel in the background was completed in the late 1820s. It was replaced by a new structure in 1960, see Provincial Towns in Early Modern England and Ireland: Change, Convergence ..., page 141 Now it's this: maps.google.ie/maps?q=kells+&hl=en&ll=53.726748,-...

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    Bernard Healy

    • 06/Sep/2013 19:21:28

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] - That picture with the peat (turf) carts is Thurles, Co. Tipperary. The following modern 'Street View' matches the Bank building and the drapery store. www.google.com/maps/preview#!q=Thurles%2C+Ireland&dat...

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    Bernard Healy

    • 06/Sep/2013 19:54:00

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] If you go to the pic with the jarveys, you'll see that I think I have that as well - junction of Clonmel Street & Harcourt Street.

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    guliolopez

    • 06/Sep/2013 21:49:56

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy Great! You are spot-on on both counts. Good-eye that man :)

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 06/Sep/2013 22:47:03

    It seems to me that it would have been much cheaper to buy the newspapers for the folk in hospital, than to manufacture and install this fabulous "swanky post box". Or is it really a disguised visitor from another time and planet, like the TARDIS?

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    steenowitz

    • 07/Sep/2013 02:22:52

    why the arrow on the top of the post - seems awful high to be a direction sign?

  • profile

    chrisper2009

    • 07/Sep/2013 08:57:04

    I am besotted with your ancient images and history. I am desperate to find the origins of my own ancestors in Ireland but your posts and more particularly, your network of very knowledgeable contacts, make this a fascinating site for anyone with an interest in history whether it be your own or others. Your land lay undisturbed far into the 20th century unlike Britain. After visits to Clare, Mayo, Cork, Galway and Dublin, we have found vibrancy, peace, friendship, music (powerful music!) and a curious sense of belonging though the latter is purely selfish and unplaced. Thank you and all of your contributors.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Sep/2013 22:24:19

    There's a grand old house (three-storey italianate hip-roof c. 1880s?) missing or not yet built in the photo, which might drag the date back 20 years or so. This side of the church where that big tree is - streetview goo.gl/maps/mnQ6h

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    O Mac

    • 08/Sep/2013 00:45:51

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] The NIAH have Kells Parochial House listed as having being built between 1880-1900. Not very precise except to suggest the photograph is no later than 1900. Their dating of the small monument at the bottom of the street is as vague.

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    martindevlin

    • 10/Sep/2013 09:15:50

    The three nearest gas lamps all are broken, two are missing the complete lantern assembly and the third (beside the post box) is missing it's mantle assembly. Could this be an example of late 1800's vandalism or inaction by a cash strapped local authority ?

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    John Spooner

    • 10/Sep/2013 17:42:56

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] The Board of Guardians at Keighley had the same thoughts in 1890. The Leeds Mercury, Thursday, May 29, 1890:

    The desirability of supplying the inmates of the workhouse with at least a limited quantity of current literature came up before the Keithley Guardians yesterday, when Mr. Holmes urged that, from what Mr. Ritchie had said, the Guardians might puchase a supply, and he moved the appointment of a committee to make a selection. - On the opposite side of the question, Mr. Middlebrook contended that it would hardly be a proper thing to do when so many ratepayers could not afford the luxury. - Eventually it was agreed, by the chairman's casting vote, to request some of the local shopkeepers to allow the fixing of a box on their premises, for the reception of old newspapers, &c., for the use of the inmates.
    I imagine the discussion before 'eventually it was agreed' included weighing up the ongoing costs of subscription versus the one-off costs of purchasing and fixing the boxes. Meanwhile in Devon (Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, Saturday, April 26, 1890),
    Exeter, St. Thomas - Says they want illustrated papers of any sort and old newspapers. Thinks a box at the station might help a little. The children have a fair supply of toys, thanks to Lady Northcote, but are badly in want of picture books
    Lady Northcote's sympathy for the poor

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    Photoamble.

    • 11/May/2014 09:21:51

    You can view an early post box lile this in the Dblin GPO in the back issue stamp shop.

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    O Mac

    • 22/Feb/2016 07:56:19

    Here's another pillar box---- on O Connell Street just after Easter Week 1916. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000030295

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 22/Feb/2016 08:15:56

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Well spotted.

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    O Mac

    • 31/Mar/2016 21:32:10

    and another beside the Court House/Townhall in Kingstown catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000041064

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    Peter on the Cape

    • 10/Apr/2017 06:17:23

    Great

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    Thom's 1904

    • 21/Mar/2018 12:12:07

    Terrible thought: might the inmates have been intended not to read the papers, but to use them (like Bloom in Ulysses) as toilet paper?

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    salesgup1

    • 03/Apr/2020 18:50:08

    I agree that the Gothic Chapel in the background was completed in the late 1820s. In 1960, it was replaced by a new structure. But why so many failures is this vandalism or just some kind of element has worked. A hurricane or something like that. There is a cool way to improve photographs - it’s not to photograph anything that’s broken, in art photos it’s not what it’s the lot of historical

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    rpgvlwqt88

    • 23/May/2020 13:52:34

    I'm very late to this party with these points as I have only started getting into this but the shopfront to the right appears to say "_O'Connor & Sons" or even "D.O'Connor & Sons" at a push, This appears to be 2 or 3 John Street, Kells, County Meath. This may help with timing p.s. - ah i now see you already have it tagged!!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 23/May/2020 16:18:24

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] James, you have to be up early around here to record a post ahead of some of the regulars. We have a posting tomorrow that you might be interested in circa 9.00am. Mary

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    rpgvlwqt88

    • 09/Sep/2020 10:48:35

    1939 from the Swedish National Library https://www.flickr.com/photos/swedish_heritage_board/50239228193/in/photostream/

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    Swedish National Heritage Board

    • 09/Sep/2020 10:52:47

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Thanks for showing Berit Wallenbergs image - and the cross seems to have been moved!? /Anna B.