Some interesting facts about these little red boxes
• The first post boxes appeared on Guernsey and Jersey In 1852.
• There are over 85,000 post boxes in England and about 2300 boxes in the wider Birmingham area.
• The most familiar post box is the red pillar box, but there are also post boxes built into a wall, others are mounted on a pole or lamp post.
• Many wall post boxes were made in the Jewellery Quarter by the firm of James Ludlow & Son of 34 Albion street, and are known as ‘Ludlow’ boxes. Sadly, none have survived in Birmingham.
• Edward VIII became king on his father’s death in 1936 but abdicated (to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson) and was thus never crowned. However, 3 post boxes with his cipher were installed in Birmingham. But where?
• Post boxes were not always red, early Victorian post boxes were green, to blend in with the landscape. They were painted ‘pillar box red’ by the mid-1880s to make them stand out more.
• Sometimes the maker’s name is cast in the post box, if so, it is near the bottom.
• In the 1930s post boxes for airmail were introduced, these were painted blue. After the scheme ended the boxes were painted red and reused. There are 16 red pillar boxes in the Birmingham area that were originally blue.
• Since 1952 post boxes have the EIIR cipher. Pillar boxes with POST OFFICE date from before 1991, pole and wall boxes with POST OFFICE date from before 1995. After these dates post boxes have ROYAL MAIL.
There is far more to post boxes than meets the eye. If you would like to find out more, the Letter Box Study Group researches all aspects of the UK’s post box history and is the acknowledged authority on the development of the British roadside post box.
Visit their website here.