Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

Edward VIII Post Box on the corner of Breadalbane Street and Albert Street, TobermoryLB52509

Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Planning Authority
Argyll And Bute
NM 50345 55290
150345, 755290


A 1936 pillar box style, cast iron post box, probably made by the Carron Company, Stirlingshire. It is on an extended area of pavement on the corner of Breadalbane Street and Albert Street in the upper part of the town of Tobermory.

The cylindrical cast iron pillar box is painted black at the base and red above. There is a swept frieze under a shallow domed cap which is dentilled at the rim. The full height left hinged door has a cup handle and lock to the right. The lower part of the door bears the cipher 'EVIIIR' in raised gothic lettering, with a crown above and 'Post Office' embossed below. There is a rectangular opening for letters and notice frame above. The words 'Next Collection' are embossed, to the left above the letter opening.

Historical development

This post box was installed in Tobermory in 1936 during the brief reign of Edward VIII. A photograph from the 1980s records it in its current position which is believed to be its original position. The pavement has since been widened around the existing post box.

Statement of Special Interest

The post box is a rare and intact example of a pillar box style post box made in 1936 during the short reign of Edward VIII. It is believed to be one of only around 30 in continued use in Scotland. The continued social historical interest in the abdication of Edward VIII who famously abdicated the throne for love over duty is also of special interest.

Architectural interest


The post box at Tobermory is a cylindrical pillar box which follows the standard design for this box type. The design was in use from 1879 and there are two sizes, either a 'large pillar' (A Type) or a 'small pillar' (B Type). This post box is a 'B Type'. Although adhering to the standard box type, the Edward VIII cipher on the door panel, as seen here, is only found in a relatively small number of boxes remaining across the United Kingdom due to the short reign of the monarch (see Age and Rarity below).

The post box is made of cast iron and was manufactured by the renowned Scottish iron foundry, Carron Company. The Carron Company was one of the major suppliers of post boxes during the 20th century for the General Post Office. From their foundry in Stirlingshire they cast pillar boxes (from 1922), wall boxes (from 1952) and lamp boxes (from 1969 to 1982) (Letterbox Study Group Website).

The Carron Company was established in 1759 near Falkirk in Stirlingshire, and became one of the most prominent and largest iron works in Europe during the 19th century. They became famous for their decorative ironwork products and for producing munitions in both World Wars. They were one of several foundries in Great Britain that produced pillar boxes for the post office, and one of five foundries that cast Giles Gilbert Scott's iconic design of red telephone boxes. The company became insolvent in 1982.

Most of the design features of the box are typical of a cylindrical post box which is a common building type. The use of the Edward VIII cipher on the door panel is a specific design feature of this type of box and is of interest. The post box, which is still in use remains an intact example of an Edward VIII pillar box.


The post box is located in the Tobermory Conservation Area on the northeast corner of Breadalbane Street and Albert Street crossroads and is clearly visible from the four side streets. The box is in its original location on a main crossroads junction in the later 19th century grid plan layout of the upper part of the town. Its prominent location on the corner junction groups well with the later 19th century houses around it.

Pillar box post boxes were commonly prominently positioned on residential street corners and the positioning of this box is not unusual.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

The Edward VIII pillar post box in Tobermory is a rare sub-type of an otherwise common and prolific type of street furniture. Edward VIII reigned for less than a year and the number of post boxes created during his reign was therefore correspondingly small when compared to other monarchs. Only a small number of post boxes installed during this period survive largely unaltered.

The introduction of the Penny Post and Postal Act of 1839 resulted in the introduction of post boxes across all of the United Kingdom from 1853 onwards.

The first cylindrical pillar box was cast in 1879. The royal cipher forms part of the branding of the cylindrical post boxes and the current monarch's monogram is normally added to every box erected during their reign.

Edward VIII came to the throne of the United Kingdom on 20th January 1936. He reigned for less than a year before his abdication on 10th December 1936. The majority of the wall post boxes that bore his royal cipher had their doors replaced with ones bearing that of George VI. However the doors on pillar boxes were predominantly left unaltered.

The majority of Edward VIII boxes were freestanding pillar boxes, such as this example in Tobermory. Current information from the Letter Box Study Group (2019) suggests around 271 boxes were made in 1936, 171 of which were pillar boxes. It is thought that 171 Edward VIII boxes survive in Britain, around 30 of which are in Scotland. The post box dates to 1936 and has significant interest because it was cast and installed within the 325 day reign of Edward VIII.

There are around ten listed Edward VIII post boxes in Scotland most of which are the pillar box type. The majority are located in Glasgow where Edward VIII visited during his short reign.

Social historical interest

The continued social interest in commemorating Edward VIII as the king who abdicated the throne for love over duty in 1936 has added to the special interest of this type of post box.

Association with people or events of national importance

The post box has a close historical association with a person of national importance. The post box was installed within the short reign of King Edward VIII and as is a rare example of a post box from the brief period during his reign.




Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1877, published 1878). Argyllshire and Buteshire XXXVIII.16 (Kilninian & Kilmore) 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Mackay, J. A. (2009) 'Postal Services' in Veitch. K (ed) Scottish Life and Society: Transport and Communications. Edinburgh: John Donald (Birlinn Ltd) p.658.

Online Sources

Letter Box Study Group. Edward VIII Letter Boxes at [accessed 16/04/2019].

British Pathe. The King at Clydebank at [accessed 16/04/2019].

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

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Printed: 30/05/2024 06:40