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The word 'mail' is a comparatively recent introduction into the English language. While I was growing up in 1940s and 1950s Britain, we 'posted' letters, we didn't mail them, and the postman delivered the 'post' not the 'mail'.
While I was away at University in the 1950s, I could cycle to Exeter St Davids station and post letters and cards home to Cambridge as late as 11.00 at night. The sorting was on the train and everything always arrived the next morning.
There were several collections a day and they were extremely reliable. What was more, we always knew whether or not we had caught the post at a post box because the there was a small white enamel tablet which stated when the next post would be. It was changed at every collection.
The 'Georgian' refers to George the Sixth, as indicated by the small Roman VI between the G and the R.
This Georgian post box has no numeral, so it must be from the time of George the Fifth. Before him there had not been a George for 80 years, which was before the establishment of the Penny Post in 1840. Furthermore, the post box is a more traditional-looking one, with a smaller white panel for details of collection times, etc.
We posted letters in what were variously called letter boxes, post boxes and pillar boxes.
I suppose that 'letter box' and 'post box' were general names and that 'pillar box' was for freestanding column-style boxes, but people just seemed to use whatever term came first to mind. The term 'mail box' was never used.
Post boxes were always red and showed the name of the monarch at the time of installation, but as I was never interested in this at the time, I took little notice. In view of the Second World War and the austerity afterwards, I doubt if there were many new post boxes when I was a child. Victorian post boxes were probably still in use.
Pat Cryer, webmaster