News File

Brief history

Anthony Trollope, the novelist, introduced the pillar box to Britain in 1852 when he worked as a Post Office Surveyor in the Channel Islands. The first mainland box was erected a year later in 1853. At first local District Surveyors ordered boxes from local foundries. In 1859 a standard design was introduced. Wall boxes appeared in 1857, Ludlow boxes in 1885 and lamp boxes in 1896.

Each new reign brings boxes bearing the royal cipher of the monarch. Pillar boxes and wall boxes have been made in different sizes and with improvements to the design incorporated over time. A large number of different manufacturers have been employed and over the years there have been many experimental boxes put in service.

The Group

Founded in 1976, the LBSG has identified around 800 different types of postbox. There are more than 400 different varieties of pillar box; around 160 types of wall box, 66 Ludlow boxes and almost 80 versions of the lamp box. New boxes are still appearing while there are still many older boxes waiting to be discovered and rediscovered.
The Letter Box Study Group is the acknowledged authority on the history and development of the British roadside letter box.


We are an active group of individuals devoted to the study of postboxes. From modest beginnings four decades ago the Letter Box Study Group has grown to become the recognised authority on the subject – all through the voluntary efforts of its members.



New school term? Need new ideas for learning-related outdoor activities in primary schools? In literacy, numeracy, art, design, geography and history? Try the Letter Box Study Group Education Pack on for size. It consists of worksheets and activities for EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage), KS1 and KS2. There are also notes for  extension activities.

The sheets can be used individually or as a whole. They can be deployed for simple colouring, observation exercises, reading and writing, numbers and basic reasoning. For older age groups, the Pack may be used to introduce discussion of design, engineering, manufacture and elementary business studies. Teaching children about history is an integral part of understanding the world today. The Pack is, for example, well suited to teaching about Victorian times.

The Letter Box Study Group Education Pack will help children – and adults – look little more closely at post boxes, their place in our community landscape, and the importance of staying in touch with friends, family and neighbours all over the world.