News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    Royal Mail post box painted gold
    24 July 2012
    Royal Mail goes Gold this summer
  • Some of Royal Mail's much-loved red post boxes will turn gold this summer to celebrate every Team GB and ParalympicsGB gold medal win
  • The UK is believed to be the first country to paint post boxes gold to celebrate Olympic and Paralympic gold medal wins
  • The gold post boxes will be located in the home towns of the gold medallists wherever possible.  The transformation will happen within days of a gold medal win
  • This will be the first occasion in modern times when Royal Mail has changed the colour of its post boxes. Red has been the standard colour for UK boxes from 1874, with few exceptions
     

Royal Mail today revealed that it will be painting some of its iconic and much-loved red post boxes gold to celebrate every Team GB and ParalympicsGB gold medal win during the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

This will be a unique, highly visible and fitting way to recognise the successes of Team GB and ParalympicsGB during this summer’s global sporting events.  The UK is believed to be the first country to paint its post boxes gold to celebrate Olympic and Paralympic gold medal wins. 

A dedicated team will be on standby to transform the specially selected post boxes within days of a win.  The post boxes chosen will, wherever possible, be in the home-town of the winning athlete, or both home-towns for teams of two.  To celebrate a gold medal win by teams of more than two competitors, the post box chosen to be painted gold will be in a location relevant to all team members.
 
Royal Mail’s post boxes are a much-loved part of the UK landscape. The UK was among the first countries to erect post boxes.  Anthony Trollope, the famous nineteenth century author and former Chief Secretary to the Postmaster General, is credited with introducing pillar boxes to the UK, having seen them in France and Belgium.

Many of the first UK post boxes were painted green to blend in with the landscape. However, to make them more visible to the public, bright red was introduced in 1874.  Red has remained the standard colour for UK boxes from then on, with few exceptions. 

The gold boxes will remain in use and customers will be able to post mail in these boxes as normal.  Mail collections from the boxes will also be unaffected.  The boxes will be repainted in Royal Mail's traditional red in due course.

Royal Mail demonstrated how the boxes will change from red to gold by painting a box in near to Westminster Abbey, London.

Post boxes will not be the only things turning gold this summer.  Royal Mail will issue special stamps to celebrate each Team GB gold medal win at the London 2012 Games.  Team GB Gold Medal stamps will be produced capturing an action image of each Team GB member or team that wins gold this summer. 

These stamps will go on sale at over 500 Post Office branches within 24 hours of a Team GB gold medal win.  All of these branches will open on Sundays, many for the first time, during the Games to allow customers to buy the stamps as soon as they become available.  A further 4,700 branches will be selling the Gold Medal stamps within a week of a win.

Royal Mail will also be the first postal administration to commemorate the gold medal wins of the national Paralympic team by featuring them on a set of six special stamps.  Each stamp will feature a different group of ParalympicsGB gold medal winners. These stamps will be available for sale in over 5.200 Post Office branches from 27 September 2012. 

Ends

For further information contact:

Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
Tel: 020 020 7449 8250
Mobile: 07436 280002
Email: Natasha.ayivor@royalmail.com

International media queries contact:

Barbara Roulston
Royal Mail Press Office,
Tel: 028 9089 2052
Mobile: 07885 269003
Email: Barbara.roulston@royalmail.com

24-hour press office: 020 7250 2468

 

Follow us on Twitter: @RoyalMailNews
#goldmedalstamps
www.royalmail.com/goldmedalstamps

 

Notes to Editors

  • A map of all the locations of the gold post boxes, as they are painted gold, will be available at www.goldpostboxes.com  
  • Royal Mail’s post boxes are a much-loved part of the UK landscape. Royal Mail puts a great deal of effort into maintaining and painting its 115,000 post boxes nationwide.
  • Anthony Trollope, the famous nineteenth century author and former Chief Secretary to the Postmaster General, is credited with introducing pillar boxes to the UK, having seen them in France and Belgium.
  • The first pillar boxes in the British Isles were erected in Jersey in 1852 as a trial.  This was in response to public demand for improved posting facilities, due to an increase in mail following postal reform in 1840.  The trial was considered a success and boxes began appearing across mainland Britain from 1853. 
  • Many of the UK’s first post boxes were painted green, to blend in with the landscape. However, to make them more visible to the public, bright red was chosen instead.  The new colour was introduced in 1874 and it took 10 years to repaint all post boxes.  Red has remained the standard colour for UK boxes from then on with only a few exceptions, one being blue post boxes for overseas mail, which were used in the 1930s. 
  • Royal Mail has showcased all the sports disciplines that will be seen in this summer’s Games in three sets of stamps counting down to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For information on Royal Mail’s range of Olympic and Paralympic stamps visit www.royalmail.com/goldmedalstamps
  • For all the latest information on all Royal Mail special stamps launches and news, please follow us on Twitter at: twitter.com/RoyalMailStamps
  • The ParalympicsGB Gold Medal Winners stamps will be available as a set of six First Class stamps in a specially designed miniature sheet for £3.60.
  • All Gold Medal stamps are also available online via Royal Mail’s website and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel: 08457 641 641) 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9PB.
  • Royal Mail issued its first Olympic Games stamps in 1948, with four stamps bearing the five Olympic Rings.  No stamps were issued in 1908 as Royal Mail stamps at that time bore images of the reigning monarch only.
  • At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Team GB won 19 gold medals. 
  • Australia Post was the first postal service to issue gold medal stamps to mark home team Olympic victories in 2000, with Hellenic Post in Greece following suit in 2004.
  • At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, China Post issued a stamp product to mark each Chinese gold medal win. This was a sheet of stamps with labels attached, and an image of the winning athlete was printed on the labels. This was repeated for all gold medal wins.
  • More recently, Canada Post issued a stamp featuring an image of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games gold medal.  This was issued to mark the first time a Canadian had won an Olympic gold medal on home territory.