Lamp boxes

Lamp boxes are the smallest type of letter box in use and got their name as they were originally attached to lamp posts. There are around 35,000 lamp boxes currently in use in the UK and the BPMA holds twenty-seven in the collection. Displaying examples of three major varieties, the lamp boxes in the collection span the reign of different monarchs from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II. The BPMA holds an example of the oldest and most rare type of lamp box which dates from 1896 and also holds more modern types of lamp boxes.

Unlike pillar boxes, lamp boxes did not change drastically throughout their existence. The collection portrays the small changes that did occur in lamp box design, namely the change of shape, cipher and manufacturer.

Examples from our Collection

Here are some examples of paintings from our collections:

Image of Queen Victoria Lamp Box, 1896

Queen Victoria Lamp Box, 1896

This lamp box is the oldest and rarest lamp box in the BPMA collection.

Image of George V Lamp Box, 1935-1937

George V Lamp Box, 1935-1937

Example of a lamp box from when the design of lamp boxes changed considerably.

Image of George VI Lamp Box, 1947-1952

George VI Lamp Box, 1947-1952

Example of a later type of lamp box which was larger and lighter than earlier models.

Image of Scottish Lamp Box, 1974-1976

Scottish Lamp Box, 1974-1976

Bears the Scottish crown instead of the 'EIIR' cipher.

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