Famous red cast iron postboxes could disappear warns Denny manufacturer

Machan Engineering director Lisa MacDonald fears for the future of the traditional red postbox. Picture: John Devlin
Machan Engineering director Lisa MacDonald fears for the future of the traditional red postbox. Picture: John Devlin
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The famous cast iron red postboxes seen across the UK could become a thing of the past, according to the Denny firm that manufactures them.

Machan Engineering has been the sole maker of the traditional British pillarbox for more than 25 years - but has received no new orders since the Royal Mail was privatised last month.

The foundry, in Broad Street, said that the Royal Mail was instead ordering stainless steel postboxes made by a company in Newcastle.

Machan managing director Lisa MacDonald told The Falkirk Herald that it normally experienced an upsurge in postbox orders at this time of year.

“We received our last order from the Royal Mail on October 9,” she said. “That’s the longest we’ve gone without an order since we began to manufacture postboxes more than 25 years ago.”

Ms MacDonald said that the cast iron variety of postbox was of much greater quality than those constructed from stainlees steel.

“Our boxes last for at least a century,” she added. “There’s also the question of security of the mail - no one can cut into a cast iron box, but they could easily cut upon a steel one.”

Machan employs ten staff, three of them specialising in manufacturing postboxes.

It has produced 50 of the classic cylindrical-type cast iron post boxes and 600 of the smaller rectangular lamp boxes in the past year alone.

“If we receive no further orders, then I will have to consider letting staff go,” Ms MacDonald said.

“What the Royal Mail has to realise is our staff are the only people left in the whole country with the skills to make these boxes.”

Machan, which was founded by former Carron Company employee Bill McMullen in 1983, also makes a variety of other street furniture.

Royal Mail spokeswoman Jennifer Bird said: “Royal Mail’s arrangements for the manufacture of cast iron post boxes remain in place.

“We will continue to place further orders for cast iron post boxes as and when required.

“We have needed to manufacture lamp boxes in stainless steel recently to ensure we meet our operational and customer requirements.

“However, we are continuing to manufacture pillar boxes in cast iron through our current arrangements.”