The importance of an archive – Post Boxes of Padstow

The long, slow and premature death of the Post Office has been agonising to observe. Never has “death by a thousand cuts” been more apposite than the deliberate destruction of a once-proud service into the shabby shell of a business it is now.

The Post Office network is on the brink of collapse with more than 2,500 branches facing closure in the next 12 months, MPs have been warned. More than a fifth of sub-postmasters, who run the Post Office franchises across the UK, have said they plan to resign or downsize because of increasing financial pressures. This could mean a Catastrophic’ loss to many communities especially the smaller more rural communities.

With the digital era in full swing, we do not send as many letters and parcels as we used to so cuts were bound to come, which is a shame for a once great business.

Post offices now are so different from the town-centre post office of my childhood, a grand and elegant high-ceilinged building which sold not just stamps but represented the connection between the state and the citizen. It was where I sorted out my first passport and my first driving licence, where my mum paid her TV licence and my grandad picked up his pension.

Along with many closures the once grand post-box is set to have a change with the delivery company introducing new parcel post boxes.

ROYAL Mail is redesigning the postbox so that you don’t need to visit the Post Office to send your parcels. The delivery firm is revamping its traditional bright red post boxes so that they will be able to fit small parcels as well as letters. It’s the first time in 160 years that the postbox has had such a big revamp.


New parcel style postbox – none currently in Cornwall


All mailboxes in England bear the royal badges. Whenever there was a change of regime, so was the badge. No wonder, mailboxes bearing royal badge of different regimes on the sides can be found easily everywhere in the streets of England. But there is an exception. Postboxes bearing the Victorian badges can rarely be found in London because most of them had already been destroyed when the German air force bombarded London during World War II. Today most of the mailboxes in England are inscribed with the Royal Badge of the present Queen Elizabeth 2nd.

My latest project is to document all the Postboxes in my PL28 post code as we don’t know how long these will be here.

(The importance of an archive)

Postboxes of Padstow………. Postboxes with a PL28 post code

In the United Kingdom, you may have noticed that British red post boxes have some embossed writing on them.

VR post box – Queen Victoria    (postbox put up between 1853-1901)

ER VII post box – Edward VII      (postbox put up between 1901-1910)

GR post box – George V              (postbox put up between 1910-1936)

ER VIII post box – Edward VIII    (postbox put up between 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936 before he abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson)

GR VI post box – George VI        ( postbox put up between 1936-1952)

ER II post box – Elizabeth II        (postbox put up between 1952-recently)


2 responses to “The importance of an archive – Post Boxes of Padstow

  1. I am a Padstonian, but have lived away for many years and now live in Kent. Though my sister Suzanne and my brother Roger and their respective partners Trevor and Karen still live there, I do not get to visit very often. The last time I visited in 2019BC (Before Covid!) for the first time ever, I spotted the VR postbox at Dennis Road and as I am fascinated by them, I took a photograph of it. However, I can see that you have already got it well documented. On an earlier visit, my wife and I were making our way up the coast road to Bude and I spotted one set into a wall, which I took a photo of, but now cannot find on my mobile. I think it might be somewhere near Trebarwith Strand, but I couldn’t be sure. In any event, I couldn’t see it amongst those you’ve taken and thought you might be interested in trying to locate it.

    • Thank you Chis for taking the time to write to me, I haven’t seen the Post Box in Bude yet I will have to look out for it when I’m next up that way. I do notice the old post boxes more now since documenting the ones in my area with a PL28 post code and would like to have the time to do other areas Regards Paul

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s