A few years ago I wrote my first post about post boxes – the ones you post letters in, not the mailboxes that belong to a house – and how many different ones there are. Recently I tracked down a couple of Queen Victoria post boxes in my area and even more exciting (I know, it’s the nerd in me) I found a rare Edward VIII post box in the village where my daughter lives, so I got her to go and photograph it for me.
Britain got her first post boxes during the 1850s and shortly after the Post Office quickly settled on using the cipher of the reigning monarch on all letter boxes.
Cast Iron Queen Victoria Wall Mounted Post Box (1837 – 1901)
VR stands for Victoria Regina, Regina being Latin for queen, denoting that Queen Victoria was monarch when the box was installed.
Below is the VR cipher that is found on Victorian pillar boxes – this one is located in Penzance. And if you look at my original post you will see the more elaborate VR cipher on the Penfold boxes.
Below is an example of the short-lived King Edward VIII – EVIIIR – cipher. King for less than a year, (Jan – Dec 1936) these are the rarest of the royal ciphers to locate.
So the only monarch I am missing from my collection is one from the reign of Edward VII (1901 – 1910). There are several in London and also Norfolk and Merseyside, but only one in Cornwall. Looks like I am going to have to track that one down!
There are over 800 different types of post boxes in the UK alone. Perhaps you have an unusual one to share? If you do then please post it and link to this one in the comments or via a pingback. I’d love to see it.