Pillar Boxes in St John's Wood

Apparently there are 100 post boxes in St John’s Wood. They have been in use since 1852  and originally green, and their now standard colour, red, dates from 1874 .  The hexagonal design known as the Penfold  (after its architect John Penfold) dates from 1879  and  has distinctive acanthus leaves on the top, surmounted by an acanthus bud finial, a classical symbol of new life.  They come in three different sizes   and since 1905 they have been made of cast iron.  It was soon realised they were not large enough for the growing amount of mail being sent and were replaced by a larger cylindrical design – the pillar box.

Each one is monogrammed with the Royal Cipher indicating when they were installed. For instance the one in Cavendish Avenue / Wellington Place dates from the 1860s and is monogrammed VR

Victorian Penfold letterbox











Victorian Penfold letterbox











Edward VII pillar box

The one in Cunningham Place, off St John’s Wood Road, bears the Royal cipher  of Edward VII. The Edward V11 boxes had the posting  aperture as part of the door rather than the body of the box – eliminating  any chance of mail getting caught up in the top of the box.  This basic design remains the same today, having served well throughout the reigns of George V, Edward V111, George V1 and Elizabeth II.








whilst the one outside 45 Hamilton Terrace is marked ER II



45 Hamilton Terrace


Old Ordnance Survey maps mark the position of letter boxes with PLB   and it is interesting that some have moved their position, for example in 1893 there used to be a box at the south end of Hamilton Terrace. The one currently in Cunningham Place presumably replaces it.


This page was added on 24/12/2018.

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