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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Campaign to preserve red post boxes
Postman John Taylor, from the Royal Mail's Winchmore Hill delivery office, carries a new issue first class stamp featuring an 1856-design post box through a sea of pillar boxes
The Royal Mail is issuing stamps called Pillar to Post
The red pillar box is to be recognised as a national treasure with an English Heritage and Royal Mail initiative to preserve it.

The campaign, which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the first post box, aims to ensure they cannot be demolished.

The boxes will also be painted at least every three years, fly-posting and graffiti will be removed and damage repaired.

Those at serious risk from vandalism or traffic will be re-located.


The nation's 115,000 letter boxes are a much-loved part of the everyday street scene

English Heritage chairman Sir Neil Cossons

The Royal Mail is also issuing a set of five stamps called Pillar to Post featuring historic letter boxes from around the country - including the one seen outside the corner shop on television soap opera Coronation Street.

English Heritage chairman Sir Neil Cossons said: "The nation's 115,000 letter boxes are a much-loved part of the everyday street scene, making a positive contribution to the character and appearance of villages, towns and cities across the country."

And he called them "a classic icon of British design inextricably linked to our national image".

While for arts minister Tessa Blackstone they are "an important part of our heritage - as British as bus stops and Belisha beacons".

Gas attack

Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope introduced four green free-standing cast iron boxes in Jersey's capital, St Helier, while working as a post office official.

But visibility problems caused the boxes to be painted a distinctive red in 1874.

Although in 1939, at the start of World War II, the tops of some were painted with yellowish green paint that changed colour in the event of a gas attack.

Some of their plinths were painted white to aid movement on blacked-out streets.

See also:

10 Sep 02 | UK
14 Jul 02 | Business
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