GVIR Post Box – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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GVIR Post Box

This ordinary-looking mailbox has a rather explosive history.  


Much like red phone boxes and black cabs, the red pillar boxes that dot the city streets are all symbols of Great Britain. One particular postal box has a volatile history. Its design and location aren’t particularly unique, but the events surrounding it certainly are. 

In the early part of the 1950s, King George VI (cipher initials G v i R ) had just died and Queen Elizabeth II (cipher initials E ii R ) was to take to the throne. Some people within Scotland took issue with her title of Queen Elizabeth II, as Queen Elizabeth I had never ruled over Scotland. 

They decided to take their frustrations out on this mailbox, which bore her cipher. On the week it was to be unveiled, it was defaced with graffiti, tarred, damaged with a sledgehammer, and eventually, it was blown to bits by explosives. After a bit, it was eventually replaced with another, though this one was embossed with the cipher initials of G v i R. Because of this hostile reaction, it was decreed that all postboxes north of the border were now embossed simply with the Scottish Crown.

Know Before You Go

It's visible anytime, night or day. Gilmerton Road is served by several Lothian Bus Lines (3, 8, and 29), and the stop is Walter Scott Avenue.

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