Pillar Boxes

You may know Anthony Trollope for his books but we was also responsible for a familiar sight on our streets.

Trollope worked for the Civil Service and on his recommendation a French designed pillar box was trialled in the Channel Islands.

Next year the first ones appeared in London. These were not the familiar round red ones of today but rectangular. They were painted green so they would not be considered an eyesore. This, however, proved impractical as postmen had trouble finding them in the dark. They were painted red from 1874. There is a green survivor in the City in St Martin Le Grande.

Although pillar boxes are basically the same, each postal area had its own designs so watch out for the variations.

Look for the symbol on the side denoting the monarch of the time. If it’s a V for Victoria then you are looking at the oldest. Most common are those from the reign of Elizabeth II – around 70,000 out of a total of 115,000. The rarest example is Edward VIII of which there are between 134 and 171 – and none in the City Of London.