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VOL. XXII NO. 3, MAY 16-31, 2012
A post-box out of the past

The other day I came across this photograph which fascinated me most. It was taken by Dr. K. Ramachandiran N, Postmaster-General, Tamil Nadu Circle, for his research programme.

This 100-cm tall, hexagonal letter box is at the Nagercoil Collectorate Post Office. It originally belonged to Travancore Anchal, a postal system maintained by the erstwhile Travancore State. (It may be remembered that the Kanniyakumari District, with Nagercoil as its headquarters, was within the limits of Travancore State till the reorganisation of states on November 1, 1956.)

Cast in iron, the letter box features prominently the State emblem, the Conch. A pair of smaller conches are seen in the panel below. The words 'Travancore Anchal' are embossed in a smoothly-curving shape at the centre of which is again a conch. (In Malayalam, Anchal means post or mail.)

Two such letter boxes were received in 1984 at the postal museum in the Postal Training Centre, Mysore, where I was working. One of them belonged to Travancore Anchal, and the other to the Imperial Post. The letter box had the British coat of arms in bold relief just above the mouth of the letter box.

These letter boxes, each weighing about 715 kilograms, could take about 3000 letters and small packets. Both boxes on display in the museum have the words 'Massey & Co, Madras' inscribed on them. (This is, however, absent in the Nagercoil letter-box.) Is there a reader who could throw light on who M/s. Massey & Co were, where their manufacturing unit was located, where their supply network was, etc?

R. Soundararajan
1/46, Sivasakti Nagar
South Palpannaicherry
Nagapattinam 611 003

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In this issue

Heritage legislation at last
What should be done to space beneath flyovers?
Endangered historic site
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright (in Madras)
Birdwatching Notes
A post-box out of the past
The historical legacy of an engineering marvel
English Theatre returns
DRAVID – He fought the good battle every time

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan


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