Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

3. Red pillar box
red pillar box

It’s a beautifully designed object with an extraordinary function. Developed by novel- ist Anthony Trollope when he worked as a Surveyor’s Clerk for the Post Office, they were a natural product of the penny post, which opened up the universal postal system to almost everyone in Britain. Their first trial was in 1853 on the Channel Islands. Originally green, they were painted red from 1874 as people had difficulty finding them.

‘[England] is somehow bound up with solid breakfasts and gloomy
Sundays… green fields and red pillar-boxes’
(George Orwell)

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