Gold Post Boxes: Commemorating Britain’s Sporting Heroes

British Olympic gold medal winners in 2012 got more than the gold medals that defined them as elite sportsmen and women. The gold medal winners for London 2012 were also commemorated with gold painted post boxes in their hometowns and a set of stamps.

I bought two sets of stamps as mementoes of the historic games: those of Sir Andy Murray, who won his gold medal after he beat Roger Federer on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. This was after he had lost to Roger Federer on the same court in the final of the Wimbledon Championships only a few weeks earlier. I also bought Sir Bradley Wiggins’ set of stamps. We had gone to Hampton Court to watch the Men’s Time Trials the afternoon of his win. They were my ‘as we were there’ souvenir.

It was a source of national pride to watch Team GB come third on the final medal table with 29 gold medals. The honour was also given to the Paralympic athletes and so Britain now has 110 gold post boxes.

Britain’s post boxes were originally painted green, but they’ve been pillar box red since the 1870s. It is believed to be the first time that the Royal Mail (and previously the Post Office) have changed the colour of the post boxes. They are, according to Royal Mail Group ‘cherished local landmarks’ and after being ‘well received’ by the public the Royal Mail decided to keep the gold post boxes as a permanent reminder of our Olympic winners in 2012.

This pair of gold post boxes is dedicated to Paralympian James Roe in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I must admit being pretty excited to see my first gold post box. It was for Olympic cyclist Joanna Rowsell, in Cheam, south-west London.

Gold post box dedicated to Olympian Joanna Rowsell (London 2012 games)

I later came across the post box to honour Sir Mo Farah, in Teddington, he also has a gold box commemorating his second gold medal of the games in Isleworth.

Wandering around Edinburgh in the rain I happened across the gold post box for Sir Chris Hoy.

Last week I finally visited another box that is fairly local to me, the box dedicated to Sir Andy Murray, near the All England Tennis club in Wimbledon.

I also took a small detour on my trip to Scotland and photographed the Bradley Wiggins gold postbox in Chorley.

Postscript:

A little extra trip to Dunblane (suggested by my husband) to photograph the second Andy Murray gold post box, this one in his hometown.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/olympics/19065717

https://www.goldpostboxes.com

https://www.royalmailgroup.com/permanent-gold-post-boxes

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/olympic-postboxes-to-stay-gold-says-royal-mail-8276889.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/128113543@N07/

Images author’s own.

14 thoughts on “Gold Post Boxes: Commemorating Britain’s Sporting Heroes

    1. I hadn’t looked at postal history when the Royal Mail did this and I, along with lots of people, were excited about the change. It was only meant to be short term but it’s now a permanent reminder of London 2012.

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  1. Our post boxes are so plain compared to yours. Ours are blue and they rather resemble a garbage can (not sure what the British call a garbage can) Royal mail post boxes are so ornate, even when painted red. I had to do a Google search to see one in red. We have some, which are white for shipping companies like FedEx, Yellow for DHL, but those are few and far between. There isn’t a single post box in the town where I live. You can place outgoing mail in your personal mailbox, which is either located at the post office (they have a special outgoing slot), directly at the end of the driveway to your home, or attached to the house in some manner. Some are on the wall outside the front door, while others are a slot in the door. If you have outgoing mail, you lift a red flag or clip it to the outside with a clothespin. It always fascinates me how differently we do things in the states.

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    1. A garbage can in Britain is sometimes refered to as a dustbin, but more commonly a bin! I can’t imagine living in a town without a post box. I like the idea of raising attention to outgoing mail by attaching a red flag.

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  2. I think that was a really nice touch back in 2012. I didn’t there realise there were quite few local to me back then (Surbiton) otherwise I would have gone to take a look. Thanks for this summary.

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    1. Once I’d taken my pics I found there was another in Worple Road Wimbledon, that I didn’t visit. It’s dedicated to a female rower. Her name escapes me at the mo. I would have taken a snap if aware of it earlier.

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    1. Elys of Wimbledon? For a moment there I thought you meant Ely! 🙂 I wondered which end of Worple Road it was! I was moments away from it then when turned off to find Georgette Heyer’s blue plaque!

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      1. I think it was near the corner…We walked out of the entrance opposite The Alexandra pub and then decided to go round the corner so we could buy something in Sainsburys before we headed up to the Village.

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