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Builth Wells E8R Private Postboxes in our collection

Private Posting Boxes

On this page we show some of the Private Posting Boxes which are in our collection. These generally do not carry a cipher. They are provided and maintained by the property owner, but cleared by Royal Mail under a special arrangement. This was very popular inside public buildings such as Universities and Colleges, Hospitals and other institutions.

Boxes could be of local manufacture, such as the one from Brook Hospital below, or modified from a standard design like the Northampton box. Companies could also supply cheaper private boxes, notably James Ludlow & Son and W T Allen.

Allen Private Box NSB327/i

The box here is by W T Allen and Co of London and is fabricated in sheet steel for econnomy and strength. This is now the most numerous of the Private Boxes and comes in two versions. The standard box seen here has a normal aperture suitable for letters, whilst a wider deeper aperture was available for packets. The latter are much scarcer. Many of these boxes were installed in hotels, notable examples include the Holiday Inn hotels in Leicester, York and Ipswich.

This attractive wooden box came up for sale on the Ebay internet auction site. it is thought to be from Brook Hospital in South East London. It was fitted to a wall and held in place by two sturdy brackets. There is an internal steel cage and flap to aid clearance of the box. None of these boxes are fitted with standard Post Office locks.

Brook Hospital

NSB 328

The third box seen here is either a George V or Vi wall box type B by W T Allen. As you can see the cipher and crown have been ground off completely. The box was for many years in use inside Northampton General Hospital and was regularly cleared by Royal Mail. Beneath the black plastic collection plate was the remains of an original 1930s Collection Times label.

The modifications appear to have been commonplace and one example, at Brantham in Suffolk, was then put back into revenue-earning service with Royal mail, providing an interesting "anonymous" wall box!

This attractive Victorian box is made in tin and brass. It was used in a country house or hotel and when acquired by the Museum, was fitted with a small tray below the box. The plate on this one and the Northampton box is a standard GPO plate saying that the Postmaster General will not be responsible for anything posted in it. Here you can see a close up of that plate:


Private PLate

VR Private Box

NSB 335 ex-Red Cross


At our 2006 HODS Open Day, a former employee of The British Red Cross Society in Chelmsford kindly donated their former private posting box from the closed HQ building at London Road. It is remarkably similar in many ways to our ex-Oban Posting Suite, but is deeper and has a much wider aperture, and of course has been painted rather than varnished. All of the internal fittings and the lock, CP & tablet holders and Private Box plate are uniform with the Oban box. The Chelmsford box has a shorter door which does not encompass the aperture and also carries an embossed serial number "11995" on the upper inner surface of the door.

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