May 2024
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From Scotland to Aubigny-sur-Nère: A Postal Connection

Scottish Contribution

Recently, we at Scotiana had the pleasure of assisting Robert Hunt, a dedicated member of the Letter Box Study Group, who reached out to us with a request as he shared his working on an article that explores British post boxes in twin towns across France and Germany, focusing on how these iconic symbols of communication have been gifted to foster international friendship and cooperation.

He requested the permission to use the picture of the postal box in Aubigny-sur-Nere that was featured inside Mairiuna’s article: The Scottish-French Auld Alliance Revives in the ‘Stuart City’ of Aubigny-sur-Nère.

Letter box Scotland Gift

Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2010 Scotiana

This interaction becomes particularly fascinating due to his interest in a photograph of a post box. This box as a testament to British postal history also illuminates a rare instance of Scottish participation. Typically, England is known for donating such post boxes internationally, but as Mr. Robert Hunt explains, this specific box, situated in the charming French village of Aubigny-sur-Nère, was gifted by Scotland.

(…)  Incidentally, yours is the only example of which I am aware where a box has been presented from Scotland rather than England.

There is a strong – and very long – Scottish connection with the manufacture of letter boxes, but I will no bore you with all that. That said, you may wish to do a Google search for Machan Engineering and look for the Scottish Record article of 4 October 2015.

Kind regards

This distinction highlights Scotland’s unique role in this charming tradition and prompts a deeper exploration of its contributions to postal services worldwide.

We are delighted to contribute to this project by providing the image for publication in the members journal of the Letter Box Study Group and happy to delve into a little-known chapter of Scotland’s industrial and cultural heritage, which we are excited to share with you.

Machan Engineering

You can understand my immediate search on Google, fueled by the curiosity that Mr. Robert Hunt stirred up when he suggested looking up Machan Engineering and finding the Scottish Record article dated October 4, 2015.

I found out that this Scottish company known for its craftsmanship has played a significant role in the production of letter boxes used across the UK and abroad.  A deep dive into the archives reveals the extensive reach and significance of Machan Engineering’s output, marking Scotland not just as a consumer of postal services, but a key player in their physical and functional development.

The letter box, a now ubiquitous fixture at the edges of our homes or on our streets, began as a simple yet revolutionary idea—to facilitate the secure and efficient transfer of written communication.

As Scotland embraced industrial advancements, companies like Machan Engineering were at the forefront of designing and producing these vital tools of communication.

scottish manufacture postal box


These boxes serve a practical purpose and also act as cultural ambassadors, carrying a piece of Scottish heritage overseas.

The letter box in Aubigny-sur-Nere, as discussed by Robert Hunt, is a perfect example of this dynamic, highlighting the intersection of functionality and cultural exchange.

Today, the relevance of these historical artifacts continues as organizations like the Letter Box Study Group dedicate efforts to study these items bearers of stories waiting to be told.

We encourage our readers to look around and consider the historical significance of common objects in their communities. Whether it’s a letter box, a bridge, or a building!

Until next, all the very best.


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