A BLAST from the past appeared on the streets of Dunoon this month when a new post box was installed on the town’s Alexandra Parade.

To the annoyance of many residents of the seaside town the box – probably uniquely in Scotland – bears the EIIR insignia of Queen Elizabeth II.

As National readers will be well aware, the current British monarch is the first to bear the name Elizabeth in Scotland – the previous Elizabeth reigned over England while Mary was Queen of Scots.

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The crowns of the two countries were united in 1603, after the death of Elizabeth.

After the current monarch came to the throne in 1952, postboxes in the UK were given the EIIR branding, much to the annoyance of Scots.

After one such pillar box was blown up in Edinburgh, and many were vandalised in what became known as the ‘pillar box wars’, the then General Post Office developed a specific Scottish marking, called a cypher, for its red pillar boxes north of the border.

The National:

In 1953, John MacCormick took legal action to challenge the right of the Queen to call herself Elizabeth the Second.

The case failed on the grounds that the matter was within the Royal Prerogative and thus the Queen was free to adopt any title she saw fit.

It seems the Dunoon pillar box was erected in error. Royal Mail apologised this week to readers of the Dunoon Observer, a spokesperson saying the organisation is “proud of our uniquely Scottish cypher”.

Local resident Colin Stevenson, who spotted the offending post-box, told The National last night: “I was absolutely taken aback when I saw it. I was confronted by something I thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history here in Scotland.

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“I wanted something done with it, peacefully, and that seems to have happened. I thought I would never see these things again in Scotland. I’m an SNP member and a long-term independence supporter. I do wonder if this is the thin end of the wedge – I don’t believe these things happen totally innocently.”

The Dunoon pillar box is to be replaced.