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Charles Dickens's Higham post box at Gadd's Hill back in service

A post box that was specially made for Charles Dickens has today been re-commissioned, more than two decades after it was taken out of service.

The nineteenth century author was thought to have sent 2,000 letters through the box at Gad’s Hill, Higham, which was installed at his request in 1859.

Marion Dickens, great-great-granddaughter of the novelist, officially re-opened the box this morning.

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Marion Dickens, Charles's great, great granddaughter, opened the post box
Marion Dickens, Charles's great, great granddaughter, opened the post box

She said: “I’m extremely excited about it as letter boxes that have been disused for whatever reason almost never get re-commissioned.

“This one is such a special one and such a famous letter box. I feel there is this wonderful link that makes him come alive.

“Just to be able to post a letter in the letter box he used is really exciting.”

Ms Dickens also sent the first letter through the box to her own granddaughter Molly, who is currently Dickens’ youngest descendant.

Video: The opening of the post box used by Charles Dickens

Royal Mail made the decision to re-open the cultural landmark after it was highlighted by The Charles Dickens Centre Charitable Trust and the Letter Box Study Group.

Jennifer Ide, a tour guide at Gad’s Hill said Dickens’ was a ‘prolific letter writer’ and would have used the box for all his correspondences.

“He would have been writing to people who contributed to his magazine all year round, to charities and it’s amazing the number of well known people at the time he would have been in correspondence with.”

A crowd in 19th century dress at the opening of the post box
A crowd in 19th century dress at the opening of the post box

She added: “I’ve made a rough check on the letter that he send from here and there are more than 2,000 and that’s just the letters we know of, so just think of the letters we don’t know about.”

Dickens wrote some of his most famous works while living at the house in Higham, including Great Expectations.

Budding letter writers will also be treated to a special Dickensian post stamp on all mail sent through the box next week.


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