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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
Post Office and British Stamps

The portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II is on the standard issue of all British postal stamps.


The most popularly used stamps are the gold First Class, without a denomination, and the blue Second Class stamp.

First class mail costs 36p and second class 27p

As well the standard issue stamps we also have commemorative stamps which mark special events, anniversaries and also show aspects of life in the British Isles. The design must include the value of the stamp and the monarch's head.

Did you know:
The world's first ever postage stamp, the Penny Black, was first issued in Britain on 1st May 1840.

A modern looking Post Office


There are three types of postboxes:

  • pillar boxes which are usually found standing by the roadside
  • wall boxes built into a wall
  • lamp boxes fixed to posts.

Two examples of Pillar Boxes

Postboxes come in all shapes and sizes, with different markings.

Postboxes can be found from every Monarch since Queen Victoria: Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II.

Queen VictoriaQueen Elizabeth II

VR is Queen Victoria
EIIR is Queen Elizabeth the Second
The letter R which stands for Regina (Queen) or Rex (King).

1866 Penfold

Fluted Pillar Box

1856 Pillar Box

Collection Plate
The collection plate see photos below) tells you when the postman will collect the mail from the postbox.

collection platecollection plate

The Postman or Postwoman collects the letters in a post van.

Postboxes can be found in every village, town and city as well as roads in the countryside.

Postbox beside a road in Yorkshire

Postbox in the village of Brenchley, Kent

Delivering letters to houses

A postman or postwoman may deliver letters to homes using a post van, push bike or by walking.

The majority of homes in the UK have a rectangular letter box in their doors.



Click here to see more photos of doors.


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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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