Since their introduction in 1852, the iconic Royal Mail mail boxes have remained mostly unchanged for the past 160 years, and are an indelible part of British life.
They came about on the suggestion of novelist Anthony Trollope, who worked as a Surveyor’s Clerk at the Post Office, and were modeled after similar boxes he had seen in France and Belgium. After a successful trial in Jersey and Guernsey, the boxes came to the British mainland but it wasn’t until five years later that standard design guidelines governing their shape and measures to keep out rain were introduced.
The earliest boxes were painted green to blend into the landscape but this led to complaints from people who could not locate them. They were then painted chocolate brown until it became too expensive to maintain, and eventually received their current coat of red paint in 1874.
These photos offer a glimpse into the tremendous craftsmanship that goes into the making of the famous pillar boxes. Made by Machan Engineering for the past 25 years, the cast iron structures are shaped and welded before being spray painted in vibrant red in the company’s workshop in Denny, Scotland.
Each box bears the mark of the reigning monarch at the time of manufacture, and the initials E.R. II refer to the Queen, Elizabeth Regina II.
Marvel at the creation of a British classic below.
[via Daily Mail]