Rob Forsyth with David French

 

OldPostHousebefore1935

In the 19th Century the Post Office was one of three cottages on the east side of New Street, one of which was the post office. It was converted into one building in the early 1900s*see footnote
click on all images for larger versions

1803 Jackson's Oxford Journal (JoJ) contains the earliest reference to a postmaster, Mr East,  found so far. It is contained in an advertsement for a house-maid:

21 May 1803, WANTED, in a Gentleman's Family, - An active fteady YOUNG WOMAN, as Houfe-Maid; capable of getting up fine Linen, and Working at her Needle. An unexceptionable Character will be required from her laft Place.Apply to Mr. Eaft, Post Office, Deddington, Oxon.

There are several further early references to the post office - all bar one in Jackson's Oxford Journal.

1830 Piggott's Directory contains this entry 'POST OFFICE, Mary Skillman, Post Mistress'.
Mary may have been a daughter of William Skillman, who is mentioned as a schoolmaster in the 1791 & 1805 Directories. He is also mentioned in the JoJ of 5 January 1805 as a schoolmaster and also appears to be acting as Executor for the estate of John Allen of Deddington Mill.

Later in the 1830s, Thomas Bennett, a baker, who was also the Parish Clerk, became postmaster.

Geoffrey Smedley-Stevenson's extracts from the Rev. Cotton Risley Diaries record the following:

"22 November 1838..called at T. Bennett's & bought some cakes & ginger nuts." Smedley-Stevenson's footnote to this extract comments 'Thomas Bennett (1784-1839) was a baker, as well as parish Clerk and postmaster. When John Calcutt and not Bennett's widow succeeded him in the latter post [Bennet died in 1839], it owed something to the Whig ministry of Lord Melbourne.'"

"29th October 1839: ...Called at the Post Office - found that poor Mrs. Bennett was not to retain the situation held by her late husband, but that John Calcutt was appointed to succeed him." [Ed's note:This was in the gift of Lord Melbourne's Whig government]

John Calcutt was a prominent Nonconformist and up to 1836 was Master of the National Schools. An extract from Printers and Publishers by Brian Carter says " It seems to be the accepted view that Calcutt’s business was located in New Street, possibly at his parents’ address at the Post Office".[Ed's note: see image at top of page]

1852 & 1858 Gardener's Directory - John Calcutt

1868 Cassey's Directory John Whetton (b.1832)

1891 & 1895 Kelly's Directory John Whetton

1911 Kelly's Directory Robert F Tucker

PostOffice


1935 The post office had moved to the Bull Ring to be in what was then 'Westons' shop and is now 'Eagles' as part of a General Store run by Mr and Mrs Charles West. It can be dated to 1935 because the newspaper boards outside the shop refer to the General Election held in November of that year and to the Italian's advance in the Ogaden Region; which resulted in the Battle of Ogaden the following year.

1939Register_HBolton 
The 1939 Register records Harry Bolton as sub postmaster. Possibly a relative of Lucy who followed him and who was some 18 years younger.

 

1950-1965 Lucy Bolton (1917-2004) was postmistress having been postmistress for North Aston from 1940-45.

 

GarrettPO

 

1965-1985 Ken and Edith Garrett. In 1961 Ken had bought the news agency from the Franklins and in 1965 the whole family moved to the Post Office as Ken and Edith took on the news agency and post office, Ken as sub postmaster and Edith as sub postmistress. 

 Garrett,Kenretiring1985

 Their retirement in 1985

 

 

 

 

1985 -1995 Stuart and Gill Smith

1995 - 2009 Bernard Hughes followed the Smiths. He owned Acorn stores and the house next door

April 2009 - date The Co-op purchased Acorn Stores and the adjacent house. The Post Office opened in it on 1 April staffed by their own  trained managers.

 

*The Old Post House today

OldPostHouseafter1935

 

The image at the head of this article was taken prior to a fire which led to the house being almost totally rebuilt in 1934/35  into what is now The Old Post House - shown left. A number of images of the rebuild in progress can be seen in The Gallery