Friday, 18 February 2011

The Coronation Street Pillar Box - Another Casualty Of The Tram Crash?

Chewy has written:

I reckoned you'd find this of interest, they've got a new postbox in the show now (after they lost the old one) was the old one there since the start or was it knocked over in the train crash?

Here's a pic of the new one

Love the blog though, even though it cuts off the year I was born in :D

Glad you like the blog. Thanks for writing.

Hmmm... interesting question...

Well, of course, Coronation Street had a pillar box outside the Corner Shop since Day One, and I thought it might be rather nice to take this opportunity to look at the highs and lows of its life on that draughty old corner, and indeed ask the question: "Was it always the same box?"

And did the original box survive the train crash of 1967?

The screen grab recently sent to us by Sky Clearbrook of Ida Barlow's funeral in 1961, clearly shows our old pal the pillar box, standing respectfully behind Florrie Lindley (Betty Alberge).

The tragic train crash of 1967 - and the pillar box has been knocked over - just follow my clumsy pink arrow! Oh, no! It does not appear to be damaged, however.

Look out for a glimpse of the fallen pillar box on this YouTube footage of the train crash (from about 0.44 in).

Of course, the pillar box was not always present in the Street from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the era of the first outdoor set. Well, even pillar boxes need a break occasionally!

No, seriously, the pillar box was removed whenever filming was completed as the set was often visited by vandals and the box could have been damaged or pinched.

In the excitement at the end of the ITV strike in 1979, the Corrie production team appear to have forgotten to put the pillar box in place before recording Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) and Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson) welcoming us back to Weatherfield. The box-less 1981 picture (on the right) was taken on a non-filming day.

"Morning Ma'am!" The pillar box meets the Queen in 1982, and is immortalised on a mug in 1985. Ironically, later that year the shop changed dramatically, retaining its "Corner Shop" title, but also becoming "Alf's Mini Market" - with a drastically modernised frontage.

From the building of the 1982 outdoor set onwards, the pillar box appears to have been a permanent, immovable feature.

A pillar box through the decades - with Ken Barlow (William Roache), Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) and Len Fairclough in the 1970s; with Curly Watts (Kevin Kennedy) and Shirley Armitage (Lisa Lewis) in the 1980s; and with me in the 1990s. I posted some postcards to friends and relatives in that box whilst on the Granada TV Studios Tour, and they were received with the postmark: "Posted In Coronation Street"!

Note that the pillar box in the pics above is actually two pillar boxes! The design of the box seen in the 1970s photograph appears to be the same as the one in the 1961 funeral cortege screen grab. The 1980s/1990s/2000s pillar box is slightly different to the earlier model. Take a close look and compare the two!

There may actually have been other models used over the years but, from the evidence available to me, I can say that the box incorporated into the latest Coronation Street exterior set when it was built in 1982, looks the same as the box on duty outside the Corner Shop until the recent disaster.

Note that the box in the 1970s photo is positioned some way from its original early 1960s position just outside the shop and is much closer to the viaduct. This move would appear to have taken place when the new outdoor lot was established in the late 1960s. The box seen in the 1980s and 1990s is back in its original early 1960s position just outside the Corner Shop.

Eek! The Corner Shop, the pillar box and Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) are aghast as a tram crashes off the viaduct and heads straight for the shop. Molly, highly sensible as always, heads back into the shop. But, according to the screen grab on the right, the pillar box appears to have left the scene before the tram reaches its location.

Rather than being annihilated by the tram, I, being a whimsical little beggar, like to think that the old faithful pillar box skipped the country for a well-earned retirement and is, even as I write, swigging back the gin and tonics on a lovely beach in Portugal with Elsie Tanner, whilst both reflect on the good old days.

Okay, that's unlikely I know! But then so is a hammer murder, an explosion and a tram crash all in one night - and as for the ghost of Vera Duckworth...


Oh dear, for all my fanciful longings, having just viewed the tram crash scenes and taken some screen caps, I must face facts - the pillar box was destroyed.

Oh well...


  1. Great post - informative AND funny!

  2. I also enjoyed this, thanks!

  3. At least Curly appears to be showing the post box some affection in your pic. The poor old thing was very much taken for granted!

  4. The new box is so ugly.

  5. The original box from the sixties was a double ring box with the Victorian cipher. I think the box was a replica, possibly fibreglass, I did see a good closeup on youtube. The famous box that was destroyed by the tram was an odds and sods box. It was fitted with a George 5th door on a later Elizabeth 2nd body, made by Carron Company. The present box is known as a K-type, and this particular one is made by Carronade, I just caught a glimpse of the maker's name one day whilst watching. There were five makers through the years of this box, which started in 1980, finished 2000