28th July 1959. Take a Letter.

Cast Iron Cap PB 42/1

Cast Iron Cap PB 42/1.

In 1849 the Postmaster General exhorted the public to have letter slits or boxes to aid deliveries. By 1853 Post Boxes first appeared in mainland Britain.

Over a century later Today in 1959 in Norwich, Tory, Postmaster General, Ernest Marples, inaugurated the first postcodes and sorting machine.  People were now encouraged to include the Post-Code on letters before popping in the ubiquitous red post boxes (1)

It was Rowland Hill the instigator of the Penny-Post who pioneered the first road-side pillar boxes.

Rare Edward VIII

Rare Edward VIII (who abdicated), Box at Cecil St. Glasgow. Only 161 were made.

Guernsey still in use.

Guernsey Post Box the oldest still in use.











In the early days local Postal Surveyors dictated the siting and the many styles of Pillar Boxes in Britain, and Ireland where the novelist Anthony Trollope spent many years between 1841 to 1858 as Surveyor. (2)

The first four boxes in the British Isles were sited in St. Helier, Channel Islands, followed by three in Guernsey.(3)

The first in England was at Botchergate, Carlisle in September, 1853, with six installed in London in 1855, the year that pre-payment of letters became compulsory.

Penfold Rochester

Hexagonal Penfold, High St.Rochester in original green. Cast by Cochrane Grove, Dudley.


The Doric-round fluted model superseded the 1866-1879 J.W.Penfold Hexagonal in the 1880.s.

In Windsor,Berkshire there is an appropriately coloured, sky-blue, pillar-box, marked ‘Air Mail’.

(1 Red became standard in London in 1874- from 1859 green. It took 10 years to repaint the whole country red.

(2) In ‘laying out’ postal ‘walks’ in the West Country in the 1850.s he acquired a familiarity with the English rural life notable in his Barsetshire novels.

(3) Four cast-iron boxes were installed 23.11.1852 in Jersey and 8.2.1853 in Guernsey, cast by Vaudin and Son, Jersey.


Spiked Top Anonymous High Aperture, Priory rd Cambridge

Spiked Top (to deter articles on top), Anonymous (no monarch), High Aperture, Priory Rd. Cambridge.


Fluted PBI West Gate, Warwick.












bbc.co.uk. 18.8.2009. Putting a Stamp on Your Letter.




Google Images/Pics.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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