Urban painting myth #2

photo of red plaar boxThere are approximately 115,000 postboxes dotted around the country but have you ever wondered why they are painted red? The Post Office allegedly stopped painting pillar-boxes green because people kept bumping into them. This could be true, though we can find no evidence to support it. Anyone who knows better please write in!

What we do know is that in the British Isles the first pillar post boxes were erected in Jersey in 1852. Roadside wall boxes first appeared in 1857 as a cheaper alternative. In 1856 an ornate pillar box was designed for use in large cities. In 1859 the design was improved, and this became the first National Standard pillar box.

Green was adopted as the standard colour for the early Victorian post boxes. Between 1866 and 1879 the hexagonal Penfold post box became the standard design and it was during this period that red was first adopted as the standard colour. The first boxes to be painted red were in London in July 1874.

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