Team GB’s gold medal winning athletes are not only finding themselves appearing on stamps within 24 hours of their victory, they are also being honoured with a gold letter box in their hometown.
As with the Gold Medal Winner stamps Royal Mail are dispatching staff to re-paint the letter boxes within a day of each athlete’s victory. There are now gold letter boxes from Penzance to Lossiemouth, with (hopefully) lots more to come.
The gold letter boxes are getting a lot of attention in the media and many people have asked us whether it is unusual to see letter boxes in colours other than the traditional red. In fact it isn’t. When letter boxes first appeared in the British Isles they were painted green so as not to intrude on the landscape.
Unfortunately the colour green proved too unobtrusive and people were unable to find them. After experimenting with a chocolate brown colour, the Post Office finally settled on the bright red we know today.
In the 1930s some boxes were also painted bright blue to promote the new Air Mail service. Our curator Julian Stray restored one of these rare blue boxes several years ago and you can read all about that on this blog.