When was the last time you posted an actual, handwritten letter? If it’s been a while, now’s the time to get back into the habit, as the Post Office has injected an extra dose of whimsy into the whole experience.
In honour of Valentine’s Day this week, post boxes across the country will be given makeover, using the words of some of history’s great romance writers.
Selected passages from the work of poets John Keats, Robert Burns and Anna Seward, as well as novelist Thomas Hardy, have been added to four post boxes in the locations associated with the writers, where they will remain for a month.
Royal Mail hopes that the boxes will “encourage lovelorn wordsmiths to send their own literary masterpieces in the form of love letters and Valentine’s Day cards this year”.
In Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, Hardy’s bithplace, two quotes from Far From The Madding Crowd adorn each side the side of a post box.
It reads: "I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die," and: “Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness.”
Similarly, words from Seward's Elegy, Written At The Seaside can be found on a round post box in her home town of Lichfield, Staffordshire, Burns’ poetry decorates a box in Alloway, Ayr, and you can find Keats’ post box in Hampstead Heath, London.
The boxes are also covered in illustrations of hearts and lovebirds, as well as a brief explanation of the project.
Mark Street, from Royal Mail, said: “As one of the guardians of the written word, we relish the opportunity to celebrate the life and times of some of Britain’s most treasured writers.
“With such a rich history of producing some of the most famous romantic works of all time, it seems only fitting that their work is honoured on some of our iconic postboxes.”
In 2012, more than 100 post boxes in the UK were painted gold – instead of the classic red – to honour the London Olympics.