Items of Useless Information. No 6.

Anthony Trollope, by Samuel Laurence (died 188...

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It is sometimes claimed that the author Anthony Trollope invented the Pillar Box. This isn’t quite true, there were road side post boxes around Europe well before they were introduced in the United Kingdom. It isn’t as if he was the first person to suggest it to the British Post Office, which was by Rowland Hill in 1840. But he did oversee the introduction and design of the first boxes in 1852 in Jersey and later that year in london, which were rectangular, had a ball on top and were of course  .   ..   . GREEN.       They painted them red in 1874.

Steven Fry has claimed in a couple of places, e.g. Here:

That: “Obviously Trollope was distraught about his invention because he thought that it might undermine the traditional family! Until the time the post box arrived, a woman had never been able to write a letter and get it delivered until she give it to a post man or to her father to be sent. The middle class woman had no ability to connect with a man except with the graces of her parents, particularly her father. Trollop, who was a traditionalist, didn’t like the idea of women communicating with men without their fathers knowing by simply slipping a letter into the post box.“

 Now I did wonder if this was the source of the somewhat derogatory word for a promiscuous woman. It seems clear that the word was in use as early as the 17th century, so it certainly pre-dates Trollope, however, historically it seems to have been used more to describe a woman as slovenly or untidy, rather than promiscuous.

So at this time of writing I conclude that the association of a promiscuous woman with the word Trollope, arose out of the horrendous scandal of young women being able to post their own letters to whomsoever they chose, because Anthony Trollope introduced the Pillar Box.

If you know better, please post a response with a verifiable source and I will update the above accordingly.


About Transremaxculver

An entirely fictitious username I created for posting on 'alt.religion.scientology', Scientology is something of which I am highly critical. For those of you who don't know, the Church of Scientology have a habit of making life very uncomfortable for even the most legitimate of critics, which is why this username is completely anonymous. Anyway I have become quite fond of this username, and although it has to some extent outgrown it's original purpose, I think a blog is perhaps the right place for me/it to continue to grow and develop.
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One Response to Items of Useless Information. No 6.

  1. Pingback: Trollope. Eliot. I deal with great heaps of verbiage. – white pebble

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