By Martin Hart on Mon 30 January 2023
When looking to upgrade your curb appeal, you may consider ditching your letterbox. Find out why you should keep the humble letterbox in our latest blog.
With the continuous growth of the internet, you may be considering ditching the modest letterbox as part of your home renovations. Losing the letter box may be more convenient if you hope to achieve the straight-line minimalistic aesthetic, but there are many downsides to forgetting this classic feature.
We will explore the advantages of the simple letterbox and why you should keep one as part of your designs, whatever your style goal is, with our vast catalogue of letterbox plates and fittings.
The History of the Humble Letterbox
The letterbox became a feature around the 1640s due to the introduction of the public mail service as instructed by King Charles I. They increased in popularity over the following 100 years. However, before letterboxes, recipients would greet the courier at the door. This chore is why many porches and grand entrances became essential and sought-after home features. Porches and entrances offered protection from British weather during the exchange.
It wasn't long before homeowners decided that a letterbox would reduce the need to be present for the recipient of the mail to make it easier and more efficient. As communities were much smaller in the 1700s, often, a letter would have no official address, just the recipient's name. As the services became stretched for the royal mail, with the growth in correspondence, they stipulated that every house must fix a letterbox on or near their main door. Thus the humble letterbox grew in popularity.
What is the Need for a Letterbox?
Although the post is rarely used for correspondence, disregarding this feature can cause significant issues. Some vital services still rely on royal mail services to relay important information.
HMRC – Although they are trying to ensure that their services are possible online, reminders and information for businesses, universal credit recipients and the self-employed are still received through the post.
Banks – Whether it is to send you a new card or inform you of changes to your account, this is always done by letter for safety reasons.
Local Councils – From local information and council tax bills to census documentation, this can only be done via post to ensure that it is received by the owner or occupants of the house in that area.
Healthcare services – Although the NHS continuously tries to digitalise their services to ensure you receive vital hospital appointments, these are still done through postal services.
Flyers – Even though they can be a nuisance, often, these can be helpful to small and local businesses wishing to reach a geographical demographic who will benefit from their services.
These are just a few services still using postal services and are vital to most people's lives. Not having a postbox will require you to be present upon delivery, which reverts to the inconvenience discovered in the early days of the postal service.
The Law of Letterboxes
The lack of a letterbox on your property will result in regular knocks from the post-delivery person. If you cannot answer the door to receive your post, it will be taken back to the royal mail office or left on your doorstep. The decision is left to the discretion of your courier. Overall it is inconvenient for everyone involved.
While there is no law about having a letterbox, there is a law about positioning a letterbox on your door. Your style may prefer to have your letterbox in an unusual placement on your door, but it may be against UK legislation. In 2019, a law was passed requiring all future letterboxes to be between 0.7 and 1.7 in height from the ground. This was to prevent unnecessary straining for the delivery of mail and to cause spinal injuries and health issues for couriers. This law may encourage you to consider the placement of your letterbox in your renovation designs and is worth considering.
Stand-Alone Letterboxes Vs Door-Fitted Letterboxes
With most people using couriers for parcels and online deliveries as opposed to the standard letter, there has been an increase in parcel boxes being purchased for mail. These are excellent if you regularly get deliveries that don't fit through a standard letterbox but are not so helpful for letters and correspondence.
Although standalone parcel boxes ensure you never miss a delivery again, they may cause you to miss vital correspondence. Due to them usually being detached from your property, there often is no signal if it is occupied. Unlike parcels, which you will be expecting to check for, a letter may not be predicted and, therefore, would be missed unless you remember to check them regularly.
However, with a letterbox fitted to your door, you will most likely step over any post when you next enter the property. It's hard to miss a letter when it is the first thing you see on the floor when you get home.
The Various Styles of Letterboxes
Although you may think a letter box will be an eyesore to your property and could potentially disrupt the modern and sleek curb appeal you are trying to achieve, with the many styles and finishes, this doesn’t have to be the case.
As a wholesale supplier of high-quality letterboxes, we can offer a range of finishes and styles to suit every design. For example, if you are looking for the traditional Victorian style, our antique embossed brass letter plates could extenuate the look you are trying to achieve.
In contrast, if modern and sleek is the goal, we have an array of polished chrome letterboxes with knockers which will look stylish and contemporary. With the additional knocker, the function prevents the need for other attachments to your door, making it look more cluttered than it needs to be.