Fazakerley Cottage Homes were opened in 1889 to accommodate poor and orphaned children, housing up to 584 children at a time. In addition to the 21 cottages where the children lived, there were schools, farm buildings, gardens and a swimming pool. The homes also introduced another unique addition, which, after plans to install it in the Museum of Liverpool were revealed, has roused a fair amount of intrigue.
The object of interest is a child-sized post box which was specially made for the children to post their letters and cards. It was used up until the Homes’ closure in 1964 when it was thankfully rescued by a member of the Post Office staff and kindly donated to National Museums Liverpool.
Curator of community history Kay Jones attended the Fazakerley Cottage Homes Association annual re-unions in June 2009 and 2010 to find out more about this intriguing piece of local history.
Kay said: “Armed with images of the post box, information from our archives and plans of the museum, I went along to try to find out more. Surprisingly, whilst some adults who had lived there as children had no recollection of the special post box at all, others had very clear memories, for very different reasons.”
Along her investigative journey Kay met Anthony, who was transferred to the Homes from Olive Mount Hospital at the age of two in 1942. Anthony recalls: “I passed the box every day on my way to the school. I used it to post my first and only letter to my grandmother. She was the only person who visited my brother and I when we were in care. I wrote to her asking her to take me out of the place and live with her. I addressed the envelope ‘to nana’, sealing it and posting it through the opening without a stamp. I was later scolded for this which upset me and made me cry.”
Others have happier memories and remember using it to post their letters to Santa Claus at Christmas time.
The post box was also thought to have had a number of different locations over time. Historical images showing the post box outside of the office and the superintendent’s home helped to confirm this.
The post box will be featured in the People’s Republic Gallery of the new Museum of Liverpool when it opens on 19 July. Visitors will be able to use it to post their own memories and experiences of growing up and growing older. The special box has evidently brought much joy in its time, and now that it is on display for all to see, will surely live up to expectation and deliver once again.