.’. Old Post Boxes .’.

So much a part of our streets that we tend to take them for granted, the bright red free-standing pillar box is still a unique feature of Britain. Introduced in 1853 – in green but painted crimson from 1874 – the ruling monarch’s cypher is the bes…

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So much a part of our streets that we tend to take them for granted, the bright red free-standing pillar box is still a unique feature of Britain. Introduced in 1853 – in green but painted crimson from 1874 – the ruling monarch’s cypher is the best guide to their age. London’s first was at the corner of Fleet Street and Farringdon Street.

Traditionally UK post boxes carry the Latin initials of the reigning monarch at the time of their installation: in this case VR for Victoria Regina or in the case of a male regent, e.g., GR for George Rex.

Edward VII: 1901-1910 – About 6 per cent of UK boxes have the ER VII cypher, which also introduced the crown. The main change is the posting slot in the door to stop mail getting caught up in the top. The aperture was now rainproof, and this same design has continued through the reigns of George V and George VI to the present day.

George V: 1910-1936 – The mystery of George V is why there is no ‘V” in his cypher. In 1924 oval enamel signs were added to some boxes pointing to the nearest post office. Much subject to vandalism and now valuable collectors items, there are few such signs left in the wild

Edward VIII: 1936 – The abdication of  Edward VIII left few pillar boxes in his name as, although 161 were made, most were vandalised or had the cypher ground off. There are perhaps 15 left  in London.

While walking aroung today I found one GR, ERVII (King Edward VII), GRVI (King George VI), ERII (Queen Elizabeth II),VR (Queen Victoria). I know that is crazy but is very excited to found in the streets of London part of its history in such a great shape.

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Author: Dani Middleton

I was born in Brazil in 1981 and lived there for 23 years before emigrating to the UK in 2005. I had read about England’s history since a young age however I moved here purely due to the history of London itself. Everything in this city fascinates me; from its parks, pubs and buildings to street names, post boxes and bollards. Watching children “beating the bounds” or the rose ceremony, you can never be tired of London. I love the quirkiness of the little alleys, the secrets of the forgotten architecture and how wonderful it can be to simply turn a corner and suddenly find a whole new world. I have worked in some remarkable places in London: museums, palaces, galleries, archives, even digging for the MoL on the Thames foreshore but I now work for Tower Bridge where, daily, I can see the City from a different point of view. Working for the City, learning its history and stories makes me eager to learn more. London is a flowing, living organism, with the old and new together transforming it every day, but always with its history at your fingertips. One step, an intricate Victorian coal hole; another step, an old Police box; yet another, an office block built seamlessly onto an old roman ruin. I am just a girl, lost in London trying not to find the way out but a way deeper, further inside what makes this city so… special, so… unique, so… me. I am a Londoner.

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