Notes from the Past

Boite Mobile

A Boite Mobile, or Movable Box, was a mail box installed at dockside or aboard ship on the run across the English channel between British and Continental ports.

The dockside boxes were used from the mid-1800s up to World War II.

A similar service was provided between Jersey and the French ports of Cherbourg, Granville, Le Havre, and St. Malo.

It is recorded that the sum of 1d per letter carried was paid to the owners of the vessels carrying the box on the Jersey-France routes, and presumably a similar arrangement existed on the vessels plying between English and other continental ports.

The Jersey-France box is now on display at the Fort Regent Postal Museum in Jersey.  It had been stored at the beginning of WWII and subsequently forgotten.

The Boite Mobile service was never restored when WWII came to an end.

During the period of use, mail carried in the boxes received special postal markings, usually incorporating the words "Movable Box," "MB," "Boite Mobile," or "BM." 


- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume One A-F
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted November 14, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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