In 1653, the first post boxes are believed to have been installed in and around Paris. By 1829, post boxes were in use throughout France. The first public post boxes in Poland were installed in Warsaw in 1842.
A post box originally installed in the wall of the Wakefield Post Office is dated 1809 and believed to be the oldest example in Britain. It is now on display at the new Wakefield Museum.
In the British Isles the first red pillar post boxes were erected in Jersey in 1852. Roadside wall boxes first appeared in 1857 as a cheaper alternative to pillar boxes, especially in rural districts. In 1853 the first pillar box in the United Kingdom was installed at Botchergate, Carlisle. In 1856, Richard Redgrave of the Department of Science and Art designed an ornate pillar box for use in London and other large cities. In 1859 the design was improved, and this became the first National Standard pillar box. Green was adopted as the standard colour for the early Victorian post boxes. Between 1866 and 1879 the hexagonal Penfold post box became the standard design for pillar boxes and it was during this period that red was first adopted as the standard colour. The first boxes to be painted red were in London in July 1874, although it would be nearly 10 years before all the boxes had been repainted.
In 2012 to celebrate Olympic gold medals for Team GB, selected boxes are painted gold. One has been vandalised briefly with graffiti. One has been painted in the 'wrong' town.
The first public letter boxes (post boxes) in Russia appeared in 1848 in St. Petersburg. They were made of wood and iron. Because these boxes were lightweight and easy to steal, they disappeared frequently; later boxes were made of cast iron and could weigh up to 45 kilograms.
This one is on the Palace Green by Durham Cathedral.
Critiques | Translate
tyro (22184) 2014-05-19 12:03
You've certainly given us a very interesting and informative note about postboxes and this is a delightful photograph of a fine Victorian hexagonal one.
Not only is the postbox superb but you've captured it in the most delicious light coming from the right side and that really brings out all its features beautifully. And set against the warm honey coloured stone of the distant buildings makes it stand out superbly well.
Lovely light and colours, perfect exposure and exquisite details and sharpness.
williewhistler (15573) 2014-05-19 12:56
there is something so reassuring about the sight of an old fashioned post box and this is a lovely example,bright red and so distinctive,it`s almost part of our heritage.
A fascinating note accompanies an original upload.
Kind regards Les.
snunney (90030) 2014-05-20 4:40
A delightful capture of this old time post box set in some very attractive surroundings. I like the symmetrical framing and the attractive light and tonal palette. Thanks also for the interesting and informative note.