Gatley’s Lucy Boxes

by Lib Dem team on 4 September, 2021

These old pieces of Gatley street furniture probably date back over a century. Both are in the part of Gatley that used to be in Manchester.

They are called “Lucy Boxes” after the company that made them, and typically contained a junction for a power supply or an isolator, often for trolleybuses. Exactly what these two (on Stonepail Road and Lorna Grove) were used for, we don’t know. While the Stonepail Road one has received some recent refurbishment, the Lorna Grove lucy box looks to have what’s left of the original paint.

We don’t know any more about them, so if anyone does have further information please let us know. General information about lucy boxes can be found here.

“Lucy box” is a name applied to boxes, about 3 feet high, about 2 feet wide and about 18 inches deep, which are to be found on pavements throughout the city.   Such boxes were originally used in connection with the tram network and then with the trolley bus network; and as part of the general electricity supply network; and for telephone purposes.

The Lucy Group of companies, which started in 1803, is still in active operation, based in Oxford, though a lot of their manufacturing now takes place in Dubai.  They specialise in electrical equipment, making equipment from that for large scale use down in size to that for domestic use. 

One of their products was a cast iron box, about two feet wide, 18 inches deep and three feet high, with a pyramidal top, and a lockable door on each side. 

The equipment inside such a box would typically be either a junction for power supply or an isolator for transport systems. 


3 Responses

  1. Shelley says:

    Very interesting. Have never heard of these.

  2. Peter Riocreux says:

    The one pictured clearly does’t match the description as the height/width ratio is all wrong (4 or 5 times as high as it is wide compared to the described 1.5x). So is it a different form factor or a completely different thing?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Peter – good spot. I think it’s probably an error in the website I linked to. If you follow the link, the pictures of other lucy boxes are very clearly of similar design to the ones we have in Gatley.

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