Penfold post box designer named one of the greatest surveyors

The late designer behind Ilkley's rare grade two-listed Penfold post box has been recognised as one of the most influential surveyors of the past 150 years.

The Penfold post box, on the corner of Middleton Avenue and Denton Road

Born 190 years ago, John Wornham Penfold was a leading architect and founding member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. His design for the British hexagonal post box - adorned with the monarch’s royal coat of arms - was commissioned by the Post Office in 1866 and created a national standard for letter boxes.

The admiration of Penfold’s post-box design was later characterised in the well-known Danger Mouse cartoon series, after the crime-fighter’s side-kick was named ‘Penfold’, as the duo’s hide-out was a letter box.

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Today, only 20 of the earliest designs of Penfolds exist in the UK, including the one on the corner of Middleton Avenue and Denton Road in Ilkley. Some are still in use today and all are classed as grade two listed buildings.

As part of its 150th anniversary this year, RICS is recognising the most influential surveyors in its ‘Pride in the Profession’ campaign.

RICS members nominated John Wornham Penfold and, in recognition of his achievements, a replica Penfold post box is being displayed at RICS’s London office.

Sean Tompkins, chief executive of RICS, said: “Examples like John Penfold’s serve to remind us what a varied and rewarding career surveying can be.”