Why you might spot a black postbox in your city this October

In honour of Black History Month, which starts today, the Royal Mail has marked the occasion by transforming four post boxes across the UK to reflect Black history.

The updates include the postboxes being painted black with gold trim and emblazoned with information about prominent Black British figures who have also been featured on Royal Mail Special Stamps throughout the years.

black postbox
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The four unique Black History Month postboxes are located in London (near to the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton), Glasgow (by Glasgow university), Cardiff (nearby Cardiff City Hall) and Belfast (close to Belfast City Hall).

Each postbox tells a different story: the London postbox features an image by artist Yinka Shonibare CBE, ‘Queueing at the RA’. Shonibare produced this image after being one of six artists commissioned by the Royal Mail to produce an original artwork for a set of Special Stamps marking the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy.

Yinka Shonibare postbox

Glasgow’s black postbox features Walter Tull, the first black infantry officer to serve in a regular British Army regiment. He was tragically killed in action just after signing on to become the first black player for the Rangers and was featured in a set of stamps issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Walter Tull postbox

The black postbox in Cardiff features Mary Seacole, a nurse and businesswoman who tended to wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War and built a dedicated place for them to recuperate known as the British Hotel. She was featured on a set of Special Stamps in 2006 celebrating the 150th anniversary of the National Portrait Gallery.

Mary Seacole postbox
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The Belfast postbox shows an image of Sir Lenny Henry CBE, the stand-up comedian, actor, singer, writer and television presenter, known for co-founding the charity Comic Relief. Henry appeared in a series of Comedic Greats Special Stamps in 2015.

Lenny Henry postbox

The Black History Month postboxes also feature QR codes which, when scanned, show you a full list of all the Black figures who have appeared on Royal Mail Special Stamps throughout the years.

Peter De Norville, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Royal Mail said: ‘Black History Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the contributions that black people have made to this country over many generations. We are also using it as an opportunity to celebrate the vital work that our black employees do throughout the nation, from the mail bag to the meeting room.’