Hongkong Post has restated its stance following local and international news reports of a plan to cover royal cyphers on 59 street post boxes from the British era.
“The Government considers it inappropriate to display the crown and the British royal cypher on old posting boxes that are still in service, and is looking into ways to update the markings on these boxes,” a statement from the Hongkong Post read. “In parallel, [the] Government is considering the best way to conserve old posting boxes. We will listen to and study the views of stakeholders and will make an announcement after making a decision.”
The 59 old cast-iron post boxes still in use in Hong Kong are of different ages, including seven with the royal cypher “GRV” for King George V, two with “GRVI” for King George VI, 49 with “ERII” for Queen Elizabeth II, and just one with a Crown of Scotland in Central, according to the website of HK Post-Box Search Team.
Hongkong Post will display its hummingbird corporate logo on all serving street post boxes in a uniform manner.
In an emailed reply to HKFP, Sonia So, Senior Manager (Public Relations) for the Hongkong Post, said: “In doing so, we will take care not to cause any damage to the royal insignia, which will be preserved.”
“All the serving old posting boxes will remain in their present locations and none will be removed. The detailed preparatory work for this project is still in progress… Hongkong Post has consulted the conservation experts in the Leisure and Cultural Services Department on the technical arrangement to take account of preservation theories and restoration principles as well as practical experience in conservation work,” So said.
She also said that Hongkong Post would only place retired post boxes at historical buildings or historic sites for public appreciation, instead of ones still in use on streets.
“In addition, we have a few retired old posting boxes in our store… we plan to select seven old posting boxes belonging to several different box types from our store for conservation in addition to the four types already on public display.”
Hongkong Post says it will make appropriate arrangements for the serving old post boxes when they retire. It will consider factors such as the actual condition of the boxes, the feasibility and cost of restoration, the availability of appropriate locations for displaying the boxes and available resources.
“As the preparatory work is still in progress, we do not have the estimated costs of the project yet.” she added.
Actions to save the post boxes
Sonia So said that the Hongkong Post will “respond to all incoming correspondence from the public.”
The Hong Kong History Study Circle has organised an event on Saturday morning gathering the public to appreciate the old post boxes in the Statue Square and the General Post Office in Central.
Lee Chak-yan, the organiser of the event, wrote on the event page that “the King George V and King George VI post boxes were unique in the world, as they were made in a now-defunct Hong Kong ship factory. They should be preserved in their original forms.”
He also urged Hongkong Post to repair and maintain all old post boxes, and set up a Post Museum to display old models.