The letters V R, each side of a crown, stand for "Victoria Regina" and indicate that this post box was placed here during the reign of Queen Victoria, one of just two such boxes that survive in Ashton.
The photo below shows the Old Ball in, at the junction of Broadoak Road, Smallshaw Lane and Henrietta Street, with the post box on the wall.
I should just point out, for the benefit of overseas visitors, that this is not the kind of mailbox where mail addressed to the inn is left, but a public posting box, where people post their letters and someone in a Royal Mail van comes along each day and collects the mail, to be taken to the sorting office for onward delivery.
The white plate on the box shows that the last collection from the box is 5.00 pm on Monday to Friday and 11.00 am on Saturday.
The Old Ball Inn was opened in 1835, two years before Victoria became queen, so the post box was clearly a later addition. The system of a universal flat-rate postage price for delivery anywhere within the UK was introduced in 1840, so it is possible that the post box was installed at about that time.
See Google Street View of this location.
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"V R" is a contribution to ABC Wednesday. For more "V" posts from around the world please follow this link.