Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 146,991 pages of information and 232,842 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1866 John Worham Penfold, an architect and surveyor, designed the first standardised pillar box. It had a distinctive hexagonal structure, topped by acanthus leaves and with a string of balls around the rim. Several different versions were introduced in response to feedback, including complaints that letters were stuck in the top, and postmen reported letters stuck in the inner wire basket. The boxes were made of cast iron by Cochrane and Co at the Woodside Works. The Penfold box has been listed Grade II by English Heritage. Eight examples are still to be found in the streets of Cheltenham alone