Today, Saturday 10 October 2015, is the 150th anniversary of Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val’s birth.
He was secretary of state to Pope Pius X and and is thought to have nearly became Pope himself when present at a conclave.
His childhood was spent in Bournemouth where he lived in a house called Fulbeck (now Britannia Hotel) in Meyrick Road. The family moved there in 1862 when Raphael was aged two.
His first school was St Aloysius (now Premier Inn) in Poole Road. The family attended the Sacred Heart Church on Richmond Hill which was then still a wooden building.
Raphael and his parents are thought to have used the hexagonal postbox on the corner of Grove Road. The new pillar box was then on the north side of the road next to Fulbeck. It was relocated to the south side after the Second World War.
Earlier this month Pope Francis met participants in a “Meeting organised on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Servant of God Cardinal Merry del Val”.