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Post Boxes

Next time you post a letter take a closer look at the box.

Britain's first roadside letter boxes appeared in November 1852 - the year Ashtead's St Giles' School was founded. Every box has a sign marking the king or queen who was on the throne when the box was installed. Here's a little known fact - Ashtead has boxes representing all six monarchs from Queen Victoria to the present Queen. This is unusual, as there are only about 100 boxes in the country that date from the short reign of Edward VIII and one is in Overdale. "Ashtead's 28 boxes represent only some of the 100 or so different designs of postbox," says Ashtead resident John Stansfield, who explained that trial pillar boxes were initially introduced in Jersey following a suggestion by novelist Anthony Trollope, then a Post Office Surveyor. Initially green and hexagonal, boxes of various shapes and sizes soon appeared on the mainland. They were first painted red in 1874 and cylindrical pillar designs became commonplace from 1879. The earliest letterbox in use in Ashtead is a late Victorian cylindrical pillar box, originally located in Oakfield Road, now in Green Lane.

Photo: Queen Victoria post Box
Queen Victoria
Photo: King Edward VII post Box
King Edward VII
Photo: King George V post Box
King George V
Photo: King Edward VIII post Box
King Edward VIII
Photo: King George VI post Box
King George VI
Photo: Queen Elizabeth II post Box
Queen Elizabeth II

See also Local Places to Visit

This article first appeared in Ashtead at Harvest 2002

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