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HOME PAGE> Mail and Post Boxes> History of UK mailboxes

History of UK mailboxes

History of UK mailboxes 1900 to 1999
In 1924 oval signs showing the direction to the nearest post office were used on top of pillar boxes for the first time. It was also in 1924 that the first experimental Telephone Kiosk no. 4 was produced which incorporated a post box and stamp vending machine.
Pillar boxes for airmail letters were introduced in London in 1930. The first of these was sited outside the General Post Office in King Edward Street, London. Originally these were simply a type 'B' box painted blue with an oval sign saying AIR MAIL placed on top, but from 1932 they were produced with a double collection plate, one for collection times and one for air mail postage rates. This service lasted until 1938 when the first box to be erected was also the last to go.
During the short reign of Edward VIII in 1936 only a relatively small number letter boxes were made, with the larger type 'A' pillar box being much rarer than than the narrower type 'B'. It is believed that there is only one surviving example of an Edward VIII Ludlow type letter box.
In 1954, after it had been pointed out that Elizabeth II of England was only the first Elizabeth to reign over Scotland, the EIIR cipher was not used in Scotland. Letter boxes were made with just a Scottish Crown on instead.
There was very little further change in the design of letter boxes until an experiment in 1968 with rectangular boxes (Type F). These were made from sheet steel and proved not to be very hard wearing and so a cast iron version, the Type G, was introduced.
For their next design in 1979 the Royal Mail went back to the cylindical shape, this time without the familiar pillar box cap. This box is known as Type K. Finally, on modern postboxes the words POST OFFICE have been replaced by the words ROYAL MAIL.

History of UK mailboxes

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