Tel. 01823 765045

The Country Mails c 1904

The Country Mails c 1904

The clock says ten past six so presumably an early start by bicycle out into the country (not a pair of shorts in sight).

At this time Taunton’s main post office was in Church Square opposite Saint Mary’s Church.

The post office opened from 7am until 10pm on weekdays and on Sundays for two hours to conduct telegraph business. At this time Taunton had a very efficiant collection and delivery service. Nineteen wall letter boxes were cleared seven times a day. Deliveries from various local parts occurred at 7am, 9am, 11am, 2.15am, and lastly at 7.30pm. There was a 7am Sunday delivery with letters from all parts of the country.

This meant that arrangements could be made locally for same days meetings or collections of orders. Thirty two postmen operated in the town.

The postage stamp was first issued as Rowland Hill’s Penny Black in 1840. Over sixty million were printed so they are not rare. A one ounce letter cost two old pence to send in 1840. Previously the recipient paid for the postage. In 1915 a one ounce letter cost one pence to send. Today its very close to a pound (most folk don’t actually know how much). Yet for over seventy five years the cost remained basically the same.

The local newspaper said this in 1907. “The new Post-office for Taunton is slowly but surely becoming a certainty. There is every probability now that within a few months visitors to the town will no longer need to ask a policeman where the Post-office business is conducted, and after some difficulty succeed in finding the building which goes by that name, where the officials are said to be languishing for want of fresh air owing to their confined surroundings. All this is to be altered, and strangers to Taunton in the near future will be able to find without any difficulty the new building which is to be erected in the main thoroughfare, North-street.”

The new post office did not open until 1911 having been built on the site of The Spread Eagle Inn by Pollard of Bridgwater at a cost of seven thousand pounds. The clock was added the same year funded by public conscription. How times have changed. The post office now gets shuttled about to which ever shop can find space for it. One could also say that the cost of the services has rocketed whilst the actual service itself has declined.

By Nick Chipchase

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this article

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

You may also like...

taunton Van Heusen A R P 1940

Van Heusen A.R.P. 1940.

Van Heusen Shirts A.R.P. 1940. I used to buy factory second shirts at the factory. I think I paid three pounds each for them and you could never see the fault. 

Bridge Street Taunton c 1904 Taunton Somerset

Bridge Street Taunton c 1904

This is a postcard by the Stengel Company of London but printed and artificially coloured in Saxony. Like so many good images this one originates

Station Road Taunton c 1903 Taunton Somerset

Station Road, Taunton c 1903

This photograph shows Station Road in 1903. It was one of a set published by Wrench Ltd who published many well animated postcards between 1900 and 1906.

Bathpool Taunton c 1908 Taunton Somerset

Bathpool, Taunton c 1908

In 1908 Bathpool was outside the Municipal Borough of Taunton which lead to some interesting occurrences as we shall see.

Taunton And Somerset Hospital Taunton Somerset

Taunton And Somerset Hospital

The booklet was produced to mark the centenary of Taunton and Somerset Hospital 1812 – 1912. It contains numerous photographs.

We go to print in...
Days
Hours
Articles by category