Minor British Institutions: The pillar box
Saturday 28 August 2010
Once they'd invented the postage stamp, it took 12 years for the authorities to work out that the convenient pre-payment of postage could be best exploited by the free collection of mail in secure, prominent containers.
The first pillar boxes were planted on the Channel Isles in the 1850s, and the idea is said to have come from the fertile mind of Anthony Trollope, postal surveyor and novelist.
They soon spread to the mainland (Carlisle as it happens), in 1853. There were lots of eccentric types in the Victorian era until a design by JW Penfold was adopted as the standard in 1866 (hence the name Penfold for Dangermouse's mate – the pair famously headquartered in a pillar box).
All were painted red from 1874. The only really poor design was the "Type F", of 1968, a square, modernist affair that was made from steel rather than cast iron and rusted away. Less celebrated than Giles Gilbert Scott's K6 telephone kiosk, we would miss the pillar box just as much.
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...