The History of Bures Post Office
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Over the years, there have been five Post Office outlets in Bures.

The first possibly opened its doors in circa 1828 in the High St.
This was twelve years before the first Penny Black postage stamp was issued in 1840.


Recorded Postmasters at Bures 1st Post Office in the High Street.


Photograph Courtesy of Leigh Alston

 

This was most probably the first Post Office in Bures
It was located along the HIgh Street where Bolberry House now stands
(opposite the Baptist Church)

 

 

 

There is no definitive date published when it opened, the only documentary evidence we have is that Elizabeth Chandler was the Postmistress

Suffolk Chronicle February 1828
Elizabeth Chandler was the subject of an embezzlement Court Case
Would this have taken place at the Post Office ?

"Piggots Trade Directory of 1830" documents Elizabeth Chandler as Postmistress


The mail was transported by horse drawn wagons travelling between Clare (Anchor) and Colchester (Royal Oak)

So the earliest we can date this Post Office is 1828/30 until George Goody took over as Postmaster in 1837 - see below

Elizabeth subsequently appears in the 1841 Census records as a "landlady" in the High Street. Probably at the old Post Office.

Typical postal rates in those days before 1840, when the Penny Post was introduced:-

Letter to Liverpool 1/-, to London 9d, to Ipswich 9d, to Colchester 8d.
Envelopes were not in use so letters were wrapped and sealed with wax.
Only one sheet of paper being allowed, up to A4 size.
If a second sheet was attached it was charged at double postage.

The introduction of the Penny Post later simplified all of this for letters. The 1/2d was used for printed matter such as newspapers.

Recorded Postmasters at Bures Second Post Office (now called Apsley House, High St)

 

September 13th 1837 George Goody - Newsagent, corn dealer and PO
(Also manager of the Gas Works)

The position of Sub-Postmaster was a very important position. John Smith MP for Norwich was asked to recommend a Sub-Postmaster for Bures. He wrote to the supervisor of the Inland Revenue at Sudbury looking for a suitable person. Mr Robert Goody was suggested, but as he had political interests he was excluded. Postmasters were no allowed to vote or hold political views.
His son George was subsequently nominated and his name was put forward to the "Lords of the Treasury" for approval. He was appointed at the age of 18 on the 12th September 1837
.


George Goody was given a large reception in the village after serving 50 years as Sub-Postmaster. Drum and Fife band together with a firework display were part of the celebrations.

The 1851 Census lists a "Charlotte Deal" aged 15 lodging in The Street as a "letter carrier"

The mail was transported initially by horse drawn wagons travelling between Clare and Colchester.
Horses were changed at the Eight Bells PH which was owned by Mr Cousins.
Records show the last collection from the PO mailbox was at 9.15pm, for onward delivery to Colchester. The wagon from Clare was scheduled to arrive at 9.30pm to collect the mail and to change horses.
The return journey from Colchester arrived at 3.00am stopping to drop of mail on route back to Clare.
Mr Frank Pilgrim was the first person from the village to drive the motorised vehicle

1889 to 1911 Harry Steed - Newsagent, Stationer, confectioner and PO Harry Steed died aged 60 years on October 28th 1911.
Sub-Postmastership taken over by his wife Elizabeth.
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The second postman to the left of the picture is mentioned below
Aspley House, today in High St.
Note, the letter box on the right, compared with the old photograph ?

These three images were supplied by Michael A Cooper.
The press cutting relates to my Great Grandfather, George Eves,who was a postman in Bures in the 19th century.
He received a Kings award from the Royal Mail for services.


George Eves - Village Postman is also my Gt Grandfather and I have copies of the photographs and press cuttings published. I can confirm that George retired 13 November 1908 and notice of his Imperial Service Award was published in the London Gazette 8th January 1909, I believe the Award ceremony took place in the March. I have a copy of George's full service history obtained from the Post Office Archives over 20 years ago, best of all I now have Imperial Service Medal which I hope will now remain within the Eves family.

Carol Mennell, York 2011


 

Note:- as Mr Steed was the Postmaster at the time, we can date this picture between 1889 to 1911



Apsley House most probably closed on the death of Harry Steed and moved opposite to the house we know today as St Mary`s, no specific date has been obtained


Recorded Postmasters (3rd) Post Office now called St Mary`s, High St -

mrs steed, postmistress

1911 to 1922 Elizabeth Steed -
PO and stationer
This closed in 1922

Mrs Steed retired aged 72 years, after serving as Sub-Postmaster for 11 years, previous to that she was a Clerical assistant in the Post Office for 40 years, a total time of 51 years. She was assistant to George Goody her uncle who held the position for 52 yrs.
Mr Harry Steed her husband followed Mr Goody and held the post for 22 years. Mrs Steed took over after her husbands death.
The Sub-Postmastership being held by the same family for 85 years.
When she commenced work there were no Postal orders, no parcel post, no telephone, no licenses, and boys delivered the letters.
The salary was £13.00 per year and the office hours were eight until eight.
Mrs Steeds official retirement was held at West Mersea Post Office together with loads of Post Office dignitaries.

 

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2nd Post Office, to the left of the photograph.
(photo, courtesy of John Ineson)
High Street 2003

Recorded Postmasters (4th Post Office Church Sq)-

The fourth location in Church Square opened the same year, adjacent to the entrance to the Vicarage.

This was managed by a number of owners at this location (1922 - 1988):-

circa 1920`s, 3rd Post Office. The factory chimney can be seen in the rear
(photo, courtesy of John Ineson

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1922 Downings Grocery Store (see photo). Mr Radford from Mildenhall recorded as sub-Postmaster.
1924/5 records show John Radford as Postmaster
1933 - Albert Sampson as Postmaster
circa 1929 - Walter Christmas Grocery Store

braybrookes circa 1937 - Braybrookes Grocery Store (at least until 1945)


circa ? Denham and Small
circa ? Capt Cunnell
1958 to 1971 - K & R. Brooks

1971 to 1988 - Gordon & Angela Harrod, trading as a Post Office and `Mace` general store.


Church Sq , 2003
The property now residential.
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Recorded Postmasters (5th Post Office Church Sq)-
1988 - 1996 - G & A Harrod moved next door to its present location.
1996 - Present day - Robert and Madelyn Harrod

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5th Post Office, currently trading.


(information supplied by Mrs Janet Frost(dec)& Kelly`s directory

Updated 13/09/2001
Updated 31/01/2017 with first PO photograph