"THE RED LETTER BOX" London Local Custom Tip by DAO

London Local Customs: 717 reviews and 883 photos

  ORIGINAL QUEEN VICTORIA LETTER BOX
by DAO
 
  • ORIGINAL QUEEN VICTORIA LETTER BOX - London
      ORIGINAL QUEEN VICTORIA LETTER BOX
    by DAO
  • GEORGE VI - London
      GEORGE VI
    by DAO
  • SMALL, RURAL VICTORIA LETTER BOX - London
      SMALL, RURAL VICTORIA LETTER BOX
    by DAO
  • MODERN, DOUBLE, ELIZABETH II LETTER BOX - London
      MODERN, DOUBLE, ELIZABETH II LETTER BOX
    by DAO
  • SECRET LETTER BOX WITH NO MONARCH !!!! - London
      SECRET LETTER BOX WITH NO MONARCH !!!!
    by DAO
 

There is nothing more recognisable, more truly British than the Red Letter Box. Not only are they a symbol of Britain, they also tell their own history. Just looking at a letter box allows you tell how old it is and a bit about British history. The modern Royal Mail was organised in the reign of Queen Victoria. You will find the first and oldest letter boxes have the letters: VR which means Victoria Regina (reign of Queen Victoria). The letter box was introduced in 1840 following the reforms which brought in a universal and affordable postage rate. The postage stamp was invented to allow for postage to be pre-paid so people did not have to travel great distances to post their correspondence. Anthony Trollope started the first system of roadside, locking pillar boxes and collection times. London?s first letter box was placed at the corner of Fleet Street and Farringdon Street in 1855.

So want to play the date game? Here are the British Monarchs and the years on the throne. Find their letters on a red letter box and you know when they were placed in their location:

Victoria 1837 1901
Edward VII 1901 1910
George V 1910 1936
Edward VIII 1936 1936
George VI 1936 1952
Elizabeth II 1953

The rarest of them all are those from the short reign of Edward VIII (1936). Only 161 pillar boxes were cast and only 14 of the larger 'A' size are known still to exist.

Jonathan Glancey, has written a book called "Pillar Boxes" (Chatto & Windus, 1989) that tells more about this essential British icon

Website: http://www.helm.org.uk/upload/pdf/Royal%20Mail%20Letter%20Boxes.%20A%20joint%20policy%20statement%20by%20Royal%20Mail%20and%20English%20Heritage_2002.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

  • Updated Jan 8, 2008
  • Send to a Friend
  • Add to your Trip Planner
  • Report Abuse

Comments

DAO

“???????ds ??o? u??q ???? p?no?s ? ???? ??s ? ?ou ??poq??os ?q o? p??u?? s????? ? '???? ?? ???”

Online Now

Male

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 6
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 4 2

Have you been to London?

  Share Your Travels