Isnin, Ogos 06, 2012

Peti Surat Lama

LONDON: Who wouldn't recognise the iconic British crimson red postbox, as much a defining feature here as the (now defunct) red routemaster bus and red phonebox.

But a gold postbox sounds like an April fool's joke -- until the Royal Mail unveiled the first of its kind outside Westminster Abbey on July 24.
As an honour to British athletes who win gold medals in the Olympics and Paralympics, Royal Mail will paint a postbox in the athlete's hometown gold. In a team event, the chosen location will be one relevant to the whole team.

This will be the first time since 1874 that the postbox undergoes a colour change. The early postboxes were painted green to blend in with the countryside. However, this was later changed to red for better visibility.
No other country has honoured their Olympic champions in this manner before.

The postbox or pillar box was first introduced to the United Kingdom by the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, who was a postal surveyor at the time. Charged with solving the problem of erratic mail collection on the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey by the Post Office boat because of weather conditions, he decided to emulate the French use of pillar boxes for mail collection.

At the time, outgoing mail would be taken to a receiving house, usually a coaching inn, where the mail coach would drop and pick up mail and passengers. The first postbox was introduced on Jersey island in 1852 and on Botchergate, Carlisle, on the main island the following year.

Since then, the postbox has undergone several layers of transformation to its cylindrical and oval shape.
The hexagonal postbox was designed by an architect named Penfold in 1866. Some 150 of them are still in use today, a testimony to the quality and durability of the cast iron boxes.

Indeed, when the Irish Republican Army bombed the Arndale Centre in Manchester in 1996, the only thing that survived the attack was a Victorian pillar box dating back to 1887. The postboxes all bear the royal cipher of the reigning monarch, for example, VR for Queen Victoria and E II R for Queen Elizabeth II.

A discerning tourist in London will be able to spot the different types of postboxes bearing the royal cipher of the different reigning monarchs over five periods:

Victoria: 1837-1901
Edward VII: 1901-1910 (In picture above) --
George V: 1910-1936
George VI: 1936-1952
Elizabeth II: 1952 - present day

This British icon, which has found its way to every Commonwealth country, has been immortalised in Disney movies like Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Next time you find yourself in the UK, don't just walk pass a postbox -- you might get to pose next to a piece of postal history.

10 ulasan:

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