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22/02/2009

British Roadside Wall Post Box


In 1653, the first post boxes are believed to have been installed in Paris, France. By 1829, post boxes were in use throughout France.
In Britain the first pillar post boxes were erected in Jersey in 1852. In 1853 the first pillar box on the British mainland was erected at Botchergate, Carlisle. The first boxes to be painted red were in London in July 1874, although it would be nearly 10 years before all the boxes had been repainted. Roadside
wall boxes first appeared in 1857 as a cheaper alternative to pillar boxes, especially in rural districts. These first wall boxes were manufactured by Smith & Hawkes and erected in 1857 in Shrewsbury and Market Drayton; minor changes in design have been made over the years but essentially today's wall boxes are little different to those of the 1930's. In the 1950's there was much complaint about the small posting apertures of the smaller wall boxes, as a result most of these boxes of Victoria, Edward V11 and George V were modified and received a wider slot.
In the UK, former Colonies and in many former British Empire countries, wall boxes usually bear the initials of the reigning monarch at the time the box was made. Coming to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has had the longest reign of any British monarch since the invention of the post box. Hence there are more EIIR boxes on the streets of the UK and Commonwealth countries than of any other monarch.

4 comments:

roentarre said...

Seriously, there is so much history in this post box. I thought the red colour was unusual for a residential post box.

The colour is sooo rich that I start to wonder whether the post box had been "renovated"?

Loïc BROHARD said...

I think they might "renovate/re-paint" them on a regular basis. Especially this one : the photo was taken on the Isles of Scilly (St Martin), about 45 km from Land's End in Cornwall, so the red color must be washed by the wind and rain !

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Do they still have these? Don't remember seeing them on our last trip over.

Loïc BROHARD said...

Oh yes they do have these ! In the period 1952-1980 more than 20,000 boxes were installed. In almost every villages and small towns you can see them.