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Oxford post boxes: Victorian


Victorian wall box

Oxford has fourteen surviving Victorian post boxes. The oldest is the pillar box in Park Town, which dates from between 1866 and 1868.

All are embossed with the entwined letters “VR” except for the two so-called “anonymous” boxes.

 

Victorian pillar box
 

Webster’s Oxford Directory for 1869 is the first directory that lists Oxford postboxes. There were then four Receiving Offices (R.O.) and only eight postboxes:

Time of collection from Receiving Offices,
and Pillar and Wall Letter Boxes

St Clement’s R.O.; Marston Street; High Street; Holywell St R.O.; Magdalen Street; and Littlegate Street—

Week Days 10.00am 2.40pm 6.00pm 7.35pm 9.30pm
Sundays 10.00am 2.20pm   7.35pm 9.30pm
 
Park Crescent ; Woodstock Road; St Giles Road R.O.; Walton Street; High Street St Thomas R.O.; and Osney—
Week Days 9.30am 2.20pm 5.30pm 7.15pm 9.00pm
Sundays 9.30am 2.00pm   7.15pm 9.00pm
 

Town letters can be posted at the Chief Office at the Town Hall, until 6.30am, 12noon, and 5.30pm

The first Kelly’s Directory for Oxford was published in 1889–90, and lists 23 letter boxes in the city, all of which were emptied about a dozen times a day between 4.30am and 10.00pm. (The city at that date did not include Headington or Cowley, which would probably have only had receiving offices then).

Here is a list of the 1889 Oxford postboxes (the five in bold marked with * still exist):

Banbury Road*

Broad Street

Bullingdon Road

Fyfield Road

Holywell Street*

Iffley Road

King Edward Street

Kingston Road

Littlegate Street

Magdalen Road

Magdalen Street

Norham Gardens

Osney

Paradise Street

Parks Crescent*

St Aldate’s Street

St Margaret’s Road*

South Parks Road*

St Clement’s (at the Plain)

Turl Street

Woodstock Road

Worcester Street

GWR station

Stephanie Jenkins, 2013