Excerpts from the book The Bristol Royal Mail

Post letter boxes: position, violation, peculiar uses

A remarkable case was that of a servant who was a somnambulist, and who for some time wrote letters in her sleep, night after night, and took them to adjacent letter boxes to post. Sometimes she was fully attired, and at other times only partially so. As a rule, the letters were properly addressed, but the girl did not always place postage stamps upon them.

Occasionally the postmen have to encounter the difficulties arising from a frost-bound letter box. Such a case occurred with a box situated on the summit of the Mendip Hills. The letter box and the wall in which the box is built were found by the postman to be covered with ice, caused by rain and snow having frozen on them. The door resisted all his efforts to open it, and he had to leave it for the night. On making another effort when morning came, it taxed his ingenuity and that of other interested and willing helpers to get the box open. Hot water was tried, paraffin was poured into the lock, and it was only after a hammer had been used and a fire in a movable grate had been applied for a time that the lid could be opened.

A letter box erected in a brick pillar in a secluded spot on the East Harptree road, about a mile distant from any habitation, was, late one night, damaged to the extent of having its iron door completely smashed off, apparently either by means of a large stone which lay at its base when the violation was discovered, or by means of a hammer and jemmy. Although the adjacent ground, ditches, and hedges were searched, no trace of the iron door could be found. As three roysterers were known to have passed the box on the night in question, it was assumed that the damage was done by them out of pure mischief and not from any desire to rob Her Majesty's mails. Whether such were the case or not, they had the unpleasant experience of being locked up over the Sunday on suspicion.