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Post boxes in North Mymms from Victorian times

Photograph of Wall box GR at the top of Bell Lane at junction with the A1000 Great North Road, Bell Bar Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

There are 15 post boxes in the parish of North Mymms, one dating back to Victorian times. The North Mymms History Project has mapped and photographed those still in service as of May 2018, and has also researched the post boxes that served the parish in the past.

This article is in two parts. It starts by listing the modern-day post boxes in North Mymms, and then goes on to record the history of post boxes in the parish. This piece complements our feature about the changes to postal services in North Mymms over the years.


Table of contents




Post box royal ciphers and what they mean


You will notice initials at the beginning of each of the captions below. These are known as the royal ciphers, and were put on all post boxes to show who the monarch was when the box was introduced. We have VR, GR, and ERII post boxes in North Mymms as well as a GVIR in nearby Roestock, which was once part of the parish.

The following explains what the initials indicate.

Image of Royal Mail ciphers used on post boxes and stamps. Image courtesy of the Postal Museum
Royal Mail ciphers used on post boxes and stamps
Image used with kind permission of Royal Mail Group Limited

  • VR -  Queen Victoria (post box put up between 1853-1901)
  • ER VII - Edward VII (post box put up between 1901-1910)
  • GR - George V (post box put up between 1910-1936)
  • ER VIII - Edward VIII (post box put up between 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936 before he abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson)
  • GR VI  - George VI (post box put up between 1936-1952)
  • ER II - Elizabeth II (post box put up between 1952-recently)



Map of North Mymms with the post boxes marked (2018)





This feature lists 19 post boxes. Five are outside the current North Mymms Parish boundary, but those in Roestock were once in the parish and have been included for historical reasons. The VR post box outside Pepperpot Lodge on Wildhill Road, Woodside, is just over the North Mymms parish border and would have been used by residents of the parish. The  Wildhill VR post box has been included because of its proximity to North Mymms and because of its age.

Post boxes have been known by an assortment of terms, all valid, such as letter boxes, wall boxes, mail boxes, pillar boxes, and even lamp boxes (where they have been attached to street lighting). We have referred to them as post boxes in the main text but by the other names in the captions beneath the images.

The box in Swanley Bar, the box in Osborne Road, and the box in Frampton Road are within the EN6 postcode district, served from the Potters Bar Royal Mail Delivery Office, whereas all other boxes in North Mymms are within the AL9 postcode district, and are served from the Hatfield Delivery Office.

The Royal Mail and Historic England have produced a document recording all types, embedded at the foot of this piece.

As with all our features, please feel free to add your comments in the box at the end of the article.


Bell Bar



There is one post box in Bell Bar, a hamlet that, at one time, had its own post office. The one remaining box is at the corner of Bell Lane and the Great North Road (A1000).

Photograph of Wall box VR at the top of Bell Lane at junction with the A1000 Great North Road, Bell Bar Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GR wall box at the top of Bell Lane at junction with the A1000 Great North Road, Bell Bar
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons



Brookmans Park



There are five post boxes in Brookmans Park. They are on Moffats Lane at the junction with Mymms Drive, Mymms Drive at the junction with the Great North Road (A1000), Pine Grove at the junction with Georges Wood Road, Bradmore Green, and The Gardens at the junction with Bluebridge Road.

Photograph of Pillar box GR at the junction of Moffats Lane and Mymms Drive, Brookmans Park Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GR pillar box at the junction of Moffats Lane and Mymms Drive, Brookmans Park
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons 
Photograph of Pillar box ER at the junction of Mymms Drive and the A1000 Great North Road, Brookmans Park Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII pillar box at the junction of Mymms Drive and the A1000 Great North Road, Brookmans Park
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Photograph of Pillar box GR at the junction of Pine Grove and Georges Wood Road, Brookmans Park Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GR pillar box at the junction of Pine Grove and Georges Wood Road, Brookmans Park
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Photograph of Pillar box ER on Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII pillar box on Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Note that in the picture above the sign indicating the direction to the post office is pointing the wrong way. The picture was taken in May 2018, three months after the post office moved from Cards & Toys to shared premises at Charlies Valet. The sign actually points to an earlier location for the post office, at Bloxham's, also on Bradmore Green.


Photograph of ERII pillar box at the junction of The Gardens and Bluebridge Road, Brookmans Park Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII pillar box at the junction of The Gardens and Bluebridge Road, Brookmans Park
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Little Heath



There are two post boxes in Little Heath. One, at the junction of Osborne Road and Hawkshead Road dates back to the Victorian era. It's the oldest post box in North Mymms and the only one carrying the royal cipher VR. The other is a GR post box at the junction of Frampton Road and the A1000.

Photograph o wall box VR at the junction of Osbourne Road and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
VR wall box at the junction of Osbourne Road and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

GR pillar box at the junction of Frampton Road and the A1000, Little Heath Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GR pillar box at the junction of Frampton Road and the A1000, Little Heath
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Marshmoor



There is a post box set back in the hedgerow at the junction of Marshmoor Crescent and Marshmoor Lane. You have to turn down Marshmoor Crescent to see it.

Photograph of Post box ER at the junction of Marshmoor Lane and Marshmoor Crescent Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ER post box at the junction of Marshmoor Lane and Marshmoor Crescent
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


North Mymms



The post box at the southern end of Warrengate Road near the junction with Hawkshead Lane and Swanland Road is officially listed as being in North Mymms.


Photograph of Post box ER at the junction of Warrengate Road and Hawkshead Lane Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII post box at the junction of Warrengate Road and Hawkshead Lane
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Roestock



We've included Roestock in this feature. Although not in North Mymms at the time of writing (2018), the hamlet was part of the parish in the past. Roestock has three post boxes, one at the junction of Roestock Lane and Bullens Green Lane, one at the junction of Roestock Lane and Tollgate Road, and one on Fellowes Lane.

Photograph of Wall box VR at the junction of Roestock Lane and Bullens Green Lane, Roestock Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
VR wall box at the junction of Roestock Lane and Bullens Green Lane, Roestock
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Photograph of Pillar box GR at the junction of Roestock Lane and Tollgate Road, Roestock Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GVIR pillar box at the junction of Roestock Lane and Tollgate Road, Roestock
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Photograph of Pillar box ER on Fellowes Lane, Roestock Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII pillar box on Fellowes Lane, Roestock
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Swanley Bar



There is one post box in Swanley Bar at the junction of Swanley Bar Lane and Hawkshead Road near Folly Arch.

Photograph of Pillar box GR at the junction of Swanley Bar Lane and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
GR pillar box at the junction of Swanley Bar Lane and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Welham Green



There are three post boxes in Welham Green. One on Holloways Lane at the junction with Booths Close, one outside the post office on Dellsome Lane, and one at the junction of Frowick Close and Pooleys Lane.

Photograph of ER post box at the junction of Holloways Lane and Booths Close Welham Green Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII post box at the junction of Holloways Lane and Booths Close Welham Green
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons 

Photograph of ERII pillar box outside Dellsome Lane Post Office, Welham Green Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
ERII pillar box outside Dellsome Lane Post Office, Welham Green
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

ERII pillar box at the corner of Frowick Close and Pooleys Lane, Welham Green
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons

Water End



The Water End post box is at the north end of Warrengate Road close to the Swanland Road junction.



ERII post box at the junction of north-west end of Warrengate Road close to Swanland Road
Image from the Peter Miller Collection


Wildhill



Wildhill isn't in North Mymms, but locals would have worked in the area and probably used the Victorian-era wall box at the east end of Wildhill Road.

Photograph of Wall box VR at the top of Wildhill Road at junction with the B158 Kentish Lane, Wildhill Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
VR wall box at the top of Wildhill Road at junction with the B158 Kentish Lane, Wildhill
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons


Woodside



The post box outside Pepperpot Lodge on Wildhill Road, Woodside, is just over the North Mymms parish boundary and would have been used by people living in North Mymms.

Photograph of Wall box VR on Wildhill Road near Woodside Lane, Woodside Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons
VR wall box on Wildhill Road near Woodside Lane, Woodside
Image from the North Mymms History Project released under Creative Commons



Historic North Mymms Post Boxes

Photograph of Water End School c1900 Image by George J Knott part of the Peter Miller Collection
Water End School c1900
Image by George J Knott part of the Peter Miller Collection

The first and only post box in North Mymms for a number of years was a VR wall box located in the wall outside Water End School. If you look carefully at the photograph above, the post box is visible in the left-hand brick pillar.

The first-known reference to the Water End School post box is in the 1890 edition of Kelly's Directory which states 'Wall Letter Box, Water End, cleared at 8.15am & 5.40pm'. The post box is also delineated by the letters LB (letterbox) on the 1896 (revised 1895) 25 inch OS map.

At the time there were two post offices in North Mymms, one in Bell Bar and the other in Welham Green. Water End School closed in 1960, and was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the A1(M).

Photograph of Unknown postman outside The Woodman, Water End c1900 Peter Miller Collection
Unknown postman outside The Woodman, Water End c1900
Image from the Peter Miller Collection
By the early 20th century the North Mymms post box population had risen to three. The residents of Little Heath were now able to post their letters in a VR wall box, still extant, located in the wall of Osbourne House at the junction of Osbourne Road and Hawkshead Road.

Kelly’s Directory did not list the Little Heath post box in any editions for some reason, and, although it is a Victorian post box, it did not feature in either the 6 inch or 25 inch OS maps for 1898 (revised 1895). It was not until the 1914 (revised 1913) 25 inch OS map that the post box is first indicated. It is likely, therefore, that the post box was erected in the late 1890s, shortly before Queen Victoria's death in 1901.

The third post box, and also still extant, is a VR wall box in Roestock Lane, which was then in North Mymms. Kelly's Directory first mentions this wall box in the 1908 edition, stating, 'Wall Letter Boxes, Water End, cleared at 7.25am & 5.40pm & Roestock, cleared at 10am & 5pm'.

The 1922 Kelly's Directory lists wall letter boxes at Water End and Welham Green.

The 1924 (revised 1922) 25 inch OS map shows the location of the Welham Green wall box as the right-hand flank wall of Post Office Row, Dellsome Lane (now demolished). The reason for the introduction of the wall box at this location was because the post office had relocated from Post Office Row to Holloways Lane.

By the time of the publication of the 1939 (revised 1937) 25 Inch OS map the wall box had been moved from Post Office Row to the north-west side of the junction of Dellsome Lane and Dixons Hill Road (see image below).

Two more post boxes appear on the 1936 (revised 1935) 25 inch OS map, a pillar box at the junction of Mymms Drive and the A1000 (still extant), and one on the north side of Thornton Road at the junction of the A1000.

A mystery surrounds both of these pillar boxes. The Thornton Road one is no longer there, but there is a GR pillar box (1910-1936) located nearby on the south side of Frampton Road junction with the A1000, was it moved?

The Mymms Drive pillar box should be a GR (1910-1936), but is in fact an ER II (post 1952), was it changed and if so why?

There are also other anomalies:
  • The GR (1910-1936) pillar box at the junction of Moffats Lane and Mymms Drive is not shown on any maps of this period, and in fact does not appear until 1970. 
  • The GR (1910-1936) pillar box at the junction of Pine Grove and Georges Wood Road is not shown on any maps of the period. Pine Grove did not exist until the 1960s. 
  • The GR (1910-1936) pillar box at the junction of Swanley Bar Lane and Hawkshead Road is not shown on any maps of the period, and does not appear on maps until 1970. 
Did the Post Office recycle old pillar boxes? The embedded pdf below sets out the Royal Mail's policy regarding the removal, repositioning, and recycling of old post boxes - and there are complex rules and regulations, particularly where a post box is listed.

By 1938 the post office in Bell Bar had closed and been demolished and a new post office was opened in Brookmans Park during this period. The 1940 (revised 1938) 25 inch OS map indicates the introduction of the extant wall box located at the north junction of Bell Lane and the A1000 which was probably located here when the post office closed.

Photograph of Postman Alf Marsden on his bike outside Abdale House, Warrengate Road, Water End c1900 Photo by George J Knott Peter Miller Collection
Postman Alf Marsden on his bike outside Abdale House, Warrengate Road, Water End c1900
Image from George J Knott, part of the Peter Miller Collection

Photograph of a postman collecting mail from the wall box at the corner of Osborne Road and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath in 1960. Image from Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Postman collecting mail at the corner of Osborne Road and Hawkshead Road, Little Heath in 1960
Image from Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection



The history of Royal Mail post boxes

By Royal Mail and Historic England




Postal services in North Mymms over the years


We have another feature on the site looking at how the postal services in North Mymms developed over the years. The item contains old maps, photographs and documents, some of which are available online for the first time.


2 comments:

  1. ian-v-uden@hotmail.com15 May 2018 at 10:22

    The box you have described as GR pillar box at the junction of Roestock Lane and Tollgate Road, Roestock is in fact a G6R as can be seen by by the curly script and the small vi between the letters. GR refers to George 5.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great, thanks Ian, appreciate the feedback. I have update now. We have just updated the piece with far more background info. So, if you have time, please have another read through. Feedback always welcome. Thanks again. David (on behalf of the North Mymms History Project team).

      Delete

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