A Brief Introduction to the Post Box

The Historic England Blog

As culturally significant as they are practical, the Royal Mail post box is a cherished feature of our streets. With over 85,000 boxes across England, it is likely you pass one every day.

The post box connects remote villages to densely populated cities across the UK. Some of the oldest post boxes were already listed, but in recognition of how important all boxes are to our national historic image, Royal Mail and Historic England have renewed their commitment to retain every box.

The story of these iconic British beacons begins in the Channel Islands, via Europe.

Walking Miles for Mail

Holwell post boxHolwell pillar post box, West Dorset. Dated 1853, it’s believed to be the oldest in public service, and so is listed Grade II* © Chris Downer, Creative Commons Licence

The 1840 Postal Reform act introduced affordable postage and easy-to-use adhesive stamps. Yet the nearest letter-receiving office was miles away from many communities. It took…

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