The Old Cupboard Postbox

The first maps of Durham show a surprising direction for Durham City’s first Great North Road. Published in 1598 and 1610, they suggest that South Street was a major route and the strip map in ‘Britannia Depicta’ of 1720 confirms its place on the north-south link. This western route was more direct, allowing mail coaches to avoid the city’s narrow bridges and streets, and they would also pass closely by the ‘cupboard’ at the top of South Street.

Without leaving his seat, the coach guard could then deliver letters and packets through the trapdoor or receive outgoing mail. An antique print from the Postal Museum Archive portrays a similar arrangement on the early morning Bath to London run. In this case, the horses hardly break stride as mail pouches are handed over from a second-floor post house.*

The Old Cupboard Postbox

*from Secret City of Durham by Derek Dodds

4 Comments CherryPie on Feb 1st 2022

4 Responses to “The Old Cupboard Postbox – Quarry Heads Lane, Durham”

  1. That is SO unusual and really very interesting. Thanks so much.

  2. A. Scott says:

    Reminds me of the system for mail trains that was still operating when I was a lad whereby a protruding bag of mail was captured while the train moved past at quite a speed.