Pillar boxes manufactured by Andrew Handyside between 1879 and 1887 omitted the words POST OFFICE and the VR royal cipher, and these boxes are known as Anonymous as a result. When the omissions were pointed out the situation was immediately rectified, but not until Anonymous boxes had been produced for five years.… Read More

The name was chosen after a competition among Royal Mail employees, to be applied to a small cast-iron box designed by Kenneth Grange and installed mainly in rural locations. The box bears a supposed resemblance to the fuel tank of a GPO Bantam motorcycle as well as being small. They were introduced in 1999; Scots,… Read More

One of the major suppliers of letter boxes during the twentieth century. From the Mungal Foundry, near Falkirk, Stirlingshire they cast pillar boxes (from 1922), wall boxes (from 1952) and lamp boxes (from 1969 to 1982). The ironworks were first established in 1759 and played an important part in the Industrial Revolution as well as… Read More

Dual aperture boxes first appeared in 1899. Large oval boxes designated as Type C, they provided apertures into separate halves of the box. Originally introduced in London to help pre-sort mail into “LONDON and ABROAD” and “COUNTRY” destinations. In the 1960s Type C boxes replaced all the single aperture boxes in central London, sweeping away… Read More

Escutcheons are found widely on many types of pillar box and wall box, they were intended to provide protection for the key hole. The collecting postman could turn a disc with two prongs located on the head of the key which would slide a cover over the keyhole, excluding rain and dirt. In practice they… Read More

The first Fluted boxes, a pillar box design loosely based on a Doric column and cast by Smith & Hawkes of the Eagle Foundry, Birmingham, appeared in 1856 and had a vertical aperture. In 1857 the design was changed to provide a horizontal aperture. Fifteen Fluted boxes, including both types, are known to have survived… Read More

Three Giant Fluted boxes were cast in 1856, and due to a “misunderstanding” over dimensions the Smith & Hawkes boxes stood an imposing eight feet tall and cost many times the intended price. The magnificently impressive boxes had a steeply-domed roof topped with a crown resting on a tasselled cushion. Of the three cast, one… Read More

The Hillsyde Foundry of Newcastle-under-Lyme won a contract to cast Type A (large) pillar boxes in 1991, the first time they had received work from Royal Mail. Their boxes are distinguished by having the maker’s name cast onto the red body of the box, at the rear, rather than on the black base. Their boxes… Read More

The Type K box of 1980 was the first to be cast in impact resistant cast iron, a technology where the presence of spheroidal graphite particles increases the ductility of the iron giving it greater impact and fatigue resistance. In grey cast iron, used prior to the 1980s, graphite is present in flakes rather than… Read More

A document produced by English Heritage and Royal Mail in 2002 which sought to provide a policy for the retention and conservation of all Royal Mail postboxes. It recognised that the “vast majority [of postboxes] make a very significant contribution to the character and appearance of the area in which they are located”. In 2015,… Read More