Friday, January 1, 2010

Something about British style post boxes...

Granddad’s fine art of making post boxes

Falkirk man, 69, has seen handiwork sent around the globe.

John Cooper, 69, has been making pillar boxes and lamp boxes – those on poles – for the Royal Mail since he was 16. Today the boxes will be put to the test as they are crammed to the brim with cards on the Royal Mail’s busiest day of the year.

Mr Cooper started making the boxes as a 16-year-old apprentice at the Carron Company in Falkirk, then moved to Machan Engineering in Denny, Stirlingshire, which now has the contract to make them.

They make nearly 1,000 post boxes a year for the whole of the UK, using only products from Scotland.

Mr Cooper, from Falkirk, is planning to retire next year, but his grandson is learning the ropes at Machan.

The royal cipher of Queen Elizabeth II does not appear on post boxes north of the border because of protests in the 1950s when post boxes were set on fire as she is technically only the first Queen Elizabeth of Scotland. It was replaced by the Scottish crown, in sympathy with Scots who did not recognise Elizabeth I.

Before 1859 there was no standard colour.

In 1859, a bronze green colour became standard until 1874 when red became the standard colour.

The Royal Mail said the earliest known post box was installed in Wakefield Post Office in Yorkshire in 1809.

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