During the brief reign of Edward VIII, before his abdication in 1936, it is reported that a total of 271 letter boxes were made. After the abdication, wall boxes that bore his royal cipher had their doors replaced with ones bearing the cipher of George VI, but the doors on pillar boxes, for some reason,… Read More

The name given to the “pie crust” indentations around the cap of pillar boxes; a design feature said to facilitate rainwater run-off. Different foundries have different styles of flutes. Only three types of traditional pillar box do not have fluting; the Type D (large) and Type E (small) oval boxes of 1931 that incorporate a… Read More

Grissell is the shorthand name of the firm H & M D Grissell of the Regent’s Canal Iron Works, Eagle-wharf Road, Hoxton. They cast six rectangular boxes with pyramidical roofs surmounted by an iron ball that were opened to the public in April 1855—the first letter boxes in London. They were situated in Fleet Street,… Read More

The firm of Andrew Handyside of Derby, whose foundry was the Britannia Works, were contractors for early pillar boxes, from 1855, and held various contracts for pillar boxes, wall boxes and lamp boxes until the Company ceased to exist in 1931 when it became Derby Castings Ltd. That company only survived until 1933.… Read More

Before Irish independence in 1922 the GPO ran the postal service in the whole island of Ireland. An early move by the Irish Free State was to paint all letter boxes green, a very public way of asserting the new administration’s authority. Some boxes also had the Royal cipher and GPO insignia removed, but many… Read More

Jana Enterprises , Beverley, north Humberside, are manufacturers of products in plastic. In the 1980s they produced polypropylene pillar boxes, as well as wall boxes and pouch boxes. Unfortunately the red colouring in the polypropylene was prone to fading in sunlight, but a number of Jana boxes of various designs can still be found in… Read More

Postmen carry a large bunch of keys, as each lock on a pillar box, wall box or lamp box is unique. The vast majority of the locks fitted to letter boxes were produced by Chubb. The five-lever locks are slam closed rather than dead bolt. In many cases the key will have small oval or… Read More

The Controller of the Liverpool District did not like the First National Standard pillar boxes introduced in 1859 and campaigned hard for a box for Liverpool of his own design, completely at odds with the idea of a National Standard box. Eventually he was permitted to order six boxes for his city incorporating his design… Read More

The Meadow Foundry of Mansfield, Nottingham, cast EIIR Type C (oval, dual aperture) boxes, beginning in 1964. The maker’s name is prominently cast on the front of their boxes. Four different manufacturers produced Type C boxes in this period, Meadow’s are the only ones which do not have the wording NEXT COLLECTION cast alongside the… Read More

The words NEXT COLLECTION can be found cast on many types of boxes alongside a holder for a tablet, which the postman was expected to change each collection to indicate when the box was last emptied and when the next clearance was due. It was first introduced on Type A and B pillar boxes and… Read More