The Letter Boxes of Bray

One of only 150 in the world. A rare 'Penfold Design' Post Box, in Bray Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Bray has a fine collection of traditional letter and pillar boxes dating from the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. These handsome items make for a very attractive and familiar part of the Irish street scene.  

Most bear witness to a time when the postal service was a much more critical element in daily communications. Hence the older parts of the town are relatively well served with boxes while one can look hard and long for one elsewhere.

For example, the nearest place residents of Diamond Valley can post a letter is in the pillar box on the Lower Dargle Road. This one bears the emblem of King Edward the Seventh (ERVII) while others in the town display the monogram of his mother the redoubtable Queen Victoria (VR) or his son King George the Fifth (GRV).

One of finest examples is located on Sidmonton Road (see photo). This is a rare Penfold design, named after the architect who designed it in 1866. Penfold-style boxes are found in Ireland and England and there are examples all over the former British Empire including India and Australia.

There are obviously no boxes bearing the cipher of any British monarchs after George V as Ireland began to issue its own distinctive designs after 1922 – initially as Saorstat Eireann or SE, then the P7T logo familiar to people of a certain vintage and most recently as simply An Post.

Even these later versions though owe a lot to the original design – including the colour. Yes, the original British pillar box of the 1850s was painted green to help them blend in. This was eventually changed to red after about 25 years in response to complaints that they were too hard to see!

Professor Foozer


About Professor Foozer

Professor Foozer lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
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