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Abertillery 1920s Post Office
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jimn8



Joined: 21 Oct 2013
Posts: 4


Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:01 am    Post subject: Abertillery 1920s Post Office  Reply with quote

I am developing a research website devoted to the history of the British post office building at http:/www.britishpostofficearchitects.weebly.com.
In the National Archives at Kew I have come across some contract documentation dated 1924 with regard to the building of a new post office in Abertillery. It probably opened for business sometime in 1926. Is anyone able to identify whereabouts in the the town this post office building is or was, and where I might any images of the building? Has it been demolished or is it used for another purpose today? I should be most grateful if anyone on the forum could help.

Julian Osley
(http://www.britishpostofficearchitects.weebly.com)
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 349



PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:12 pm    Post subject: Post Office Reply with quote

I expect many others will also write to tell you that there is now a new building on the same site at the top of Church Street - just yards down from the Foundry Bridge. Why the previous, quite elegant, building was pulled down, I don't know.
Although I personally don't object to Post Office privatisation, I sincerely mourn the passing of the old GPO system and the "dismantling" of so many GPO buildings, many with historic architectural features.
I hope your research goes well. Are you proposing a book?
Anthony Earl-Williams
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jimn8



Joined: 21 Oct 2013
Posts: 4


Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Post Office Reply with quote

Anthony Earl-Williams wrote:
I expect many others will also write to tell you that there is now a new building on the same site at the top of Church Street - just yards down from the Foundry Bridge. Why the previous, quite elegant, building was pulled down, I don't know.
Although I personally don't object to Post Office privatisation, I sincerely mourn the passing of the old GPO system and the "dismantling" of so many GPO buildings, many with historic architectural features.
I hope your research goes well. Are you proposing a book?
Anthony Earl-Williams


Thanks for the information about the demolition!
I have already written a small book for the British Postal Museum and Archive. It is entitled Built for Service and was published in 2010. The web site is an extension of the research I undertook for the book.
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 349



PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:08 pm    Post subject: post offices Reply with quote

Are you actually researching (or trying to) every main Post Office building under the "old order" in Britain?
If not, why particularly the interest in Abertillery?
I am an Old Boy of the town and its Grammar School, although now long in London.
The demise of Belsize Park Branch Office (B.O.) - that is, the main GPO Office - was another disgrace. We have been battling to save the B.O. at Swiss Cottage!  All this started many years before the recent privatisation, as you will know.
A most interesting project. I suppose a 12 shilling stamp (60p) is a bi-product of all the emails we now send, let alone all the vile, useless twitterings et al!!!
Anthony E-W
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jimn8



Joined: 21 Oct 2013
Posts: 4


Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My principal interest in the history of the purpose-built post office (generally crown offices) built between about 1850 to 1975. This was a period when most of these buildings were designed by government architects. The architect of the demolished Abertillery Post Office was Archibald Bulloch - quite prolific with buildings in Wales and the West of England. In the 1920s and 1930s these buildings were in a safe neo-Georgian style ... and there are not many that still function as post offices!
The story of the demise of the local branch post office is another story altogether!

Best wishes

Julian
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 349



PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:48 am    Post subject: post offices Reply with quote

Dear Julian,
                     I referred to Belsize Park and Swiss Cottage Post Offices as B.O.s (Branch Offices) because in London that it what they were called - because of the MAIN Head Office in each London Postal Region.  But they were Crown Offices in their own right.  In other parts of the country the (usually) man in charge was the Postmaster, but in London he was always the Officer in Charge.
I trained as a post office counter clerk at the Kings Cross postal school when I was 19 and hadn't done well at first University year. I worked for 2 years at Knightsbridge Post Office - a lovely, old building and still there - before returning to University. It proved a brilliant move because in those days (mid 1970s) I was allowed to return to the PO counter during the vacations.  Financially, a great help!
That explains my interest in the subject. These counters operating out of supermarkets etc don't even employ trained staff!
The beautiful old Belsize Park Post Office is now a large flower shop!! Very sad and utterly wrong!
Anthony
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stoob



Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Posts: 1041


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Abertillery 1920's Post Office Reply with quote

The Cottonwood was the Post Office in 1920, not sure when it moved to Church Street.
Believe the first Abertillery Post Office was 1845, not positive on location though.
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 349



PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Post Office Reply with quote

Dear Stoob,
Hope you are well!
Do please try and find out where the original building was. And was it only in the early 1920s that it was on the Church Street site? Or might it have been there earlier?
I remember "filling in" at Ebbw Vale Post Office one vacation - it would never be allowed now! It was only because I'd been trained!
Another nice old building which was abandoned by the Newport Head Office. What was the point of pulling down the original Aber Post Office - just to erect a larger, modern piece of "nothing"!!
By the way, Stoob, you will know the exact year that it was demolished. Will you please tell us!
Anthony
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stoob



Joined: 29 Mar 2012
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Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:00 am    Post subject: Abertillery 1920's Post Office Reply with quote

The original post office in Church Street opened on 01 December 1925, it was Abertillery's fourth post office since the 1840's. Suspect the first was a more come telegraph or bank though.
See if I can find the demolition date but concur, far superior to what we have today.
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:39 am    Post subject: post office Reply with quote

Is Six Bells Post Office still in operation?  I think I saw one in Cwmtillery when I was last there.
Stoob, do you possibly know a lady called Pam Payne? She lived in Abertillery and worked for a long time in the main Ebbw Vale Post Office. I think she might have transferred to Abertillery. She'd be late 60s now. There was also a really nice chap called John (forget his surname) who left the Ebbw Vale office and became Post Master at Six Bells in the mid 70s. Do you remember him?
Anthony
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stoob



Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Posts: 1041


Location: Abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:40 pm    Post subject: Abertillery 1920's Post Office Reply with quote

Can't find a date for the closure of the original Church Street PO at the minute but must be late 80's or early 90's.
Saw a couple of Kelly directories earlier and Edward Jones was the first postmaster in 1848 and he was still there in 1871 Titus Phillips was postmaster 1891-1895.
Location of first post office was Pond House and that stood on Abertillery's first railway station.

Long time since I lived in Six Bells so can't recall the postmaster's down there but I'll have a look at a 60's electoral register next time I visit the reference library.
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martyn142



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 2366


Location: six bells, abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure you know this stoob but Pond House is still there. It's the detached house which is a hundred yards or so south of Glan Ebbw Terrace. You can see it from Tesco's carpark.
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Anthony Earl-Williams



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 349



PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: post offices Reply with quote

Martyn,
Is Pond House the 19th Century Post Office?  You don't specify!!
Was there ever any community discussion before the previous, perfectly adequate main office was demolished?  What a vile waste of money! In a small(ish) town like Abertillery, whatever possessed them to think that the previous one needed replacing. Did nobody try and save it, as we did with Belsize Park??
Anthony
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martyn142



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
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Location: six bells, abertillery

PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've no idea sorry Anthony. I was just replying to stoob's comment about Pond House being the first post office, as he seemed to infer that it was no longer there.
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cowpat



Joined: 08 Mar 2009
Posts: 117



PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject: Abertillery 1920s Post Office Reply with quote

The Pond House was by the Railway Station and may have been used to take the mail of the train, The first Post Office may have been down on the lefthand side of High St behind the old Church School.

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