Elizabethan Post Boxes
The longest reign of the 20th Century naturally has produced a very large number of post box installations and novel designs. Ideas have come and gone from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The Museum has examples of many of these and we are proud of our specialised collection of Elizabethan lamp letter boxes. Although the basic design was established during the reign of George VI, the lamp letter box has undergone many interesting design changes over the years and our comprehensive collection allows these to be traced along their correct timeline. We also cover the development of the modern posting box, with designs from the 1990s and the present day. Our wall box collection illustrates the way this classic design was refined to accept large envelopes and more mail.
Here you can see the three principle types of EiiR wall box. From the left these are the early 8" aperture boxes, with and without collection plate holders, and to the right the later Carron box with 10" aperture. The early boxes are by WT Allen. (WB115/3, 116/3 & 119/1) The wallboxes without collection plate holders are generally those which open from the rear as well as the front. These were a common feature of sub-post offices and were given their own classification; instead of A, B& Csize they were respectively D, E & F size. Next to these you can see our A size wall box. These are large enough to put a six year old child in as I found out one day when my youngest climbed in! They were designed for use in cities with large volumes of mail. However the earlier ones such as this have only 8" apertures and have been progressively withdrawn in recent years. Our example is one of two taken out of service in 1999 at Northampton(WB113).
The Elizabethan era has been a fascinating one for design changes in the free standing boxes and we present a selection here. First up, and in the blue livery of Guernsey Post, is the later Carron pillar (PB42) with large jutting aperture and recessed lock. Next to it is the door only from the rectangular Type G pillar by Carron dating from 1976. We also have the internal mechanism for this box and hope to acquire a carcass for these (PB45). To the right of the type G is one of the most interesting boxes from a design point of view, the Gibbs' K Type of 1980 (PB48). The rather squalid looking box on theright is a Jana Industries pedestal box. These were a short-term conversion from that company's pouch boxes to provide a cheap medium capacity box during the mid-1980s (PB51/3). The construction is in self-coloured ABS plastic which has faded badly over the years. There are just a handful of these left on the street. Finally in this selection we have the super Type M Pedestal by Machan. Introduced in 1995 these use a mixture of cast iron and steel fabrications to produce a very attractive box (PB57).
More Elizabethan Boxes