Street furniture is a general term which covers all the lamp posts, letter boxes, street name plates, marker posts and other fixtures found in the street.

Street furniture tends to be taken for granted and not noticed by people who walk past it every day, consequently, it is rarely mentioned or recorded in books or other publications which cover the history of an area.

Most street furniture within Upton is comparatively modern, with little of it being older than the 1930's, this is due to the constant and continuing expansion within the township, and the need to replace and upgrade the various items

Street Name Signs

The oldest street name plates in Upton are enamel ones with white lettering on a blue background, these signs where usually fixed directly on to walls.

Later name plates are of cast iron and most are in the standard 'Birkenhead' design with black lettering on a white background and a raised border round the edge.

These plates where also usually mounted directly on a wall, but if no suitable wall was available, a wooden backing board and posts were used.

 

Black on white enamel signs have been used to replace damaged or missing signs and on new roads. These signs where at first mounted directly on walls or on posts, but more recent examples are mounted in a 'frame' of steel tubes, like small scaffolding poles.

Unusually, enamel signs with cream letters on a brown background have been used on the Upton by-pass.

Today, plastic signs with black lettering on a white background are being used. These are mounted using wooden posts at either end. Many of the old cast iron signs have been replaced with these.

Street Name Signs

 

Lamp Posts

In the mid 1950s many of the streets in Upton where still lit by gas lamps, these had clockwork time controlled valves and each week the 'lamp lighter' came with his ladder and wound up the clocks at the top of each lamp post.

Towards the end of the 1950s, the last of the gas lamps where converted to electric lamps. This was often done by removing the lantern from the post and adding an extension fitted with an electric lamp holder. Initially white tungsten filament bulbs where used, but these where later replaced by sodium lamps.

The last remaining converted gas lamp in Upton was located in Upton Close. This was badly damaged by a storm during the night of 13/14th November 2003, and was replaced on 5th December 2003 with a modern steel lamp post.

The old cast iron gas lamp posts were replaced with various designs of pre-cast concrete posts.

Over the years these have also deteriorated, and some have been repaired by fitting steel top sections over the concrete posts.

Steel lamp posts are now being used to replace the concrete posts.

On main roads in Upton tall cast iron lamp posts where used, these were originally fitted with Mercury vapour lamps which produced a pale blue light. All of the lamps where later upgraded to sodium lamps.

In recent years most of the old lamp posts have been replaced with plain steel posts.

Lamp Posts

 

Letter Boxes

There are three main types of letter box, these are pillar box, lamp box and wall box, all three of these are used within Upton.

The oldest pillar boxes are from the reign of George V (1910 - 1936), and there are also examples of boxes from the reigns of George VI (1936 - 1952) and Elizabeth II (1952 - ).

 

Telephone Boxes

The first telephone box in Upton was probably the K1 style box which was located in the village, outside Gallagher's, the wine merchant.

This was later replaced with the more familiar red K6 telephone box. Several other K6 boxes were located within Upton.

The last remaining red Jubilee (K6) telephone box in Upton was located at the junction of Welton Avenue and Old Greasby Road, however this was removed at the end of 2007 due to low usage and the proximity of other telephone boxes.

Other telephone boxes in Upton were either removed or were replaced with the glass and stainless steel design (KX100) introduced from 1985.

There was also a police telephone in the centre of the village, this was not of the Dr Who 'Tardis' type, but was a triangular box mounted on top of a short pillar, known officially as a 'Post PA No 1'. 

The box was painted blue and had doors on two sides, one had a lock and housed a telephone for the 'beat bobby' to use, and the other provided a direct connection for the public to the police station.

The telephone pillar was removed in the late 1950s.

 

Bus Stops

In the ealy 1960s bus stops used in Upton were simple rectangular plates with BUS STOP in black lettering on a white background. These plates where mounted on lamp posts, or on steel or concrete posts, the steel poles were painted silver and usually had a blue or red cicular disc on top with the letters BCT (Birkenhead Corporation Transport) in silver.

When the MPTE took over the responsibilities of Birkenhead Corporation Transport, the BCT discs on top of the metal poles where broken off and, later, the plates where replaced with new ones showing a siluette of a bus and the MPTE logo.

In Upton village, there was a concrete cantilever bus shelter outside Malleys, and a walk through concrete shelter by the public toilets in Arrowe Park Road.

Both these shelters where later replaced by 'Adshel' shelters, the one in the village being moved to outside the Maypole, shelters were also placed at the other two bus stops in the village.

Recently, the four shelters have again been replaced, this time with yellow 'Smart' shelters.

 

The Stone Man

While not strictly street furniture, the stone man is worthy of mention as it was unique.

The stone man, known locally as John Willey, was a crude statue made out of blocks of stone. It stood at the junction of Manor Drive and Meadway on a vacant triangle of land.

The stone man was put up by a local stone mason as an advert. It was frequently 'decorated' by local children (as in the picture above).

John Willey's end came when a bungalow was built on the land, the stone man was knocked down, and some of the stone was used to build a rockery.

In November 2010, while work was being carried out on the house and grounds, John Willey's legs were dug up.

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