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How much do you know about postboxes?

Royal Mail / 12 August 2016

We take a closer look at the postal innovation Anthony Trollope, introduced in 1852: the postbox

A heritage icon that's as recognisably British as the red telephone box and the classic Routemaster bus, the postbox helped usher in the reforms that paved the way for the universal postal service.

Here are a few little-known facts about Trollope's invention that will make you think twice the next time you pass one at the end of the street.


… the first pillar box was set up in 1852 in Jersey?

… London’s first pillar box was installed in 1855?

… Britain’s oldest postbox still in service dates from 1856 and can be found in Dorset?

… the earliest postboxes were green, but soon phased out because of complaints that it blended in with the countryside?

… red became the standard colour in 1874?

… blue Airmail boxes appeared in 1930 but were phased out by 1938?

… Royal Mail painted more than 100 of its postboxes gold to celebrate every Olympic and Paralympic gold medal won by Team GB in the London 2012 Olympic Games

… some early pillar boxes had vertical apertures?

… there are around 800 different types of pillar box?

… all postboxes bear the mark of the reigning monarch at the time of manufacture?


View our 'Pillar to Post' collection from 2002 >

View our 'Post Box' collection from 2009 >

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