Hackney’s old postboxes, traditional to the letter

VR postbox Nevill Rd Stoke Newington London N16 240214 © david.altheer@gmail.com
VR postbox in Haggerston Hackney London March 2014 © david.altheer@gmail.com
VR postbox in Haggerston
Close-up: the VR emblem on the box above, in Stoke Newington

HACKNEY is fortunate to have a good variety of the cast-iron red postboxes, and they are loved throughout the world. 

But for how long?

Postboxes and the rarer pillar boxes around Britain are being torn out of the streets by vans and lorries for sale abroad for thousands of pounds.

Some of the wall boxes have been chiselled out of their brick settings by the thieves. 

Many postboxes are sold on auction sites as souvenirs to overseas collectors, especially in the United States. 

The boxes are owned by the Royal Mail, which stopped auctioning unwanted stock a decade ago. 

The number of thefts from the street started to rise and now boxes dating to the reign of Victoria (1837-1901) and marked “VR” sell for £5,000, George V (1910-1936) boxes from the early 1900s can go for £1,000. and the later ones, from the present Queen Elizabeth era, can fetch hundreds of pounds.

Ad on eBay: probably bought legally from the Royal Mail
Ad on eBay: probably unwanted stock

Many end up on eBayLoving Dalston is not suggesting that the one pictured has not been legally bought from the Royal Mail. 

It said: “These boxes are of great historical interest – and we want them back.”

Talking of history, readers under 40 may need a briefing. They can press Royal Mail for a short history. As for postboxes, every one has a slit into which letters are posted, in Americanese “mailed” or “shipped”, for collection by a postie, who takes them to a sorting office for distribution to their eventual destination anywhere in the world.

 Hamish Scott  170514

PostboxGR model in Dalston London E8 290314 © david.altheer@gmail.com
A GR model in a side street near Dalston junction
ER postbox in Dalston Hackney London E8 2014 © david.altheer@gmail.com
ER (Elizabeth Regina) postbox in Dalston

* Suspicious behaviour near a postbox, perhaps by a team of men claiming to be removing a box for repairs, should be reported to the police: phone 101. 

Note the registration (number plates) of any van or lorry with the men.

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. 

If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

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