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Post Office Staff

This early postcard shows the bustle around the Post Office
in about 1905, and before the High Street was widened.

Staff Notes in Date Order

Postmasters Sub-Postmasters [From Trade Directories]
1861 - 1864 Thomas Packwood
1864 - 1869 William Packwood
1874 - 1900 Charles Hewitt
1902 - 1919 Sidney Field
1920 John S Keeling
Kelly's 1898 Mr. J. T. Reid - sub-postmaster [142 W'boro Rd]
1901 census Charles Hewitt - sub-postmaster [35 High Street]
Kelly's 1903 Mrs. Emily Mary Berrill sub-postmistress [78 W'boro Rd]
Kelly's 1903 Ebenezer Brown - sub-postmaster - 3 Newton Road
Kelly's 1914 J. Eagle - sub-postmaster - High Street South - Commerce House
Kelly's 1914 George Brown - sub-postmaster - Higham Road
Kelly's 1914 T. Overy - sub-postmaster - 49 Newton Road
Kelly's 1914 Miss Grace Neillie Harris - sub-postmistress - 144 Wellingborough Road
Kelly's 1920 Miss Emily Brown - sub-postmistress - 10 Higham Raod
Kelly's 1920 T. Overy - sub-postmaster - 49 Newton Road
Kelly's 1920 Miss Grace Neillie Harris - sub-postmistress - 144 Wellingborough Road
Kelly's 1924 Mrs Emily Watson - sub-postmistress - 10 Higham Raod
Kelly's 1924 James Bernard Langdon - sub-postmaster - 75 Newton Road
Kelly's 1924 Miss Grace Neillie Harris - sub-postmistress - 144 Wellingborough Road

Wellingborough & Kettering News, 31st December, 1881

ACCIDENTIn consequence or the very dangerous state of the footpath near the residence of Mr. T. Sanders, between Higham Ferrers and Rushden, the Rushden postman, J. Seckington, fell on Saturday evening last and very seriously injured his knee.


As a boy, Robert Gerald Dykes was employed as Post Officer at Rushden. He had moved to Northampton Post Office when he enlisted in 1914.
Advert from Shoe & Leather Record 1892-3 - 'Postmen's Boots'

The staff outside the Post Office - undated
Postcard of the Postmen c1910
Sitting front right is Howard Mantle
Another copy seen of the photograph above right, was captioned:-
'Postmen at Rushden taken by Mr C N Clark, of Arlington Road, Eastbourne' and has a date noted as 'about 1910 or 1911'.

Rushden Echo, 15th November 1901

Postal ChangesMiss B. Saxby, assistant clerk in the Rushden Post Office, has left to take up a similar position at Castleford, Yorkshire. Miss Saxby was four years at Rushden and three years at Higham Ferrers post office previously. On Friday the combined staffs at Rushden and Higham Ferrers presented Miss Saxby with an ebony-backed hair brush, clothes brush, comb, and handglass, with silver initials, as a token if their high esteem for her.


The Wellingborough News, 24th January 1902, transcribed by Gill Hollis

The New Postmaster of Rushden
Mr. Sidney Field, who has been a clerk in the Northampton Post Office for sixteen years, has been promoted to the office of postmaster at Rushden, vacant through the retirement, in August last, of Mr. Charles Hewitt. Mr. Field, who is a native of Bedford, and went to Northampton at an early age, won a scholarship from Kettering-road Board Schools to Northampton Grammar School. Leaving the Grammar School at Christmas 1885, Mr. Field entered the Northampton Post Office, and in May, 1886, was appointed a sorting clerk and telegraphist, and has ably occupied these positions ever since. He leaves Northampton Post Office on Saturday next, and takes up his duties at Rushden on Monday. The postmastership of Rushden has never before been held by a man holding a civil service appointment.

The work at the Rushden Office has been going up by leaps and bounds, and new offices are about to be erected to cope with the ever-increasing work. Mr. Field is exceedingly well known in Northampton. He is a keen cricketer, and has on various occasions done good work as a member of the Northamptonshire eleven, while in Northampton League cricket he has been one of the most useful members of the Clarence team.

Pending the appointment of a permanent postmaster, Mr. W. A. Jones, of Leamington Spa, was temporarily appointed, and has carried out the duties in a zealous and courteous manner. Mr. Jones returns to Leamington on Wednesday to resume his duties at that town.


c1903 Harry, Mary & Jonathan
Harry, Mary & Jonathan Seckington c1903
Photo taken by Philip Baker of Robinson Road.
In 1901 he was a sorting clerk and telegraphist.
Rushden Echo, 14th February 1908, transcribed by Kay Collins

Postal—Mr. Baker, after some years at Rushden post-office, left on Saturday for Lewes, Sussex.


Rushden Echo Friday 4th December 1914, transcribed by Susan Manton

Rushden Telegraphist - Volunteers for Service

Mr. Cecil N. Clark (son of Mr. John Clark of High Street, Rushden) formerly telegraphist at the Rushden Post Office and now at the Wellingborough office, has volunteered for service as a signaller and telegraphist. Four other members of the Wellingborough office staff (Messrs Douglas, Beale, Ward and Plowman) have volunteered for similar work. Mr. Beale and Mr. Douglas have already gone, and Mr. Clark and the others may be sent at any time.


William TaylorThe Rushden Echo, 29th January, 1915, transcribed by Jim Hollis

A Rushden Telegraphist
Mr. William C. Taylor, son of Mr. W. H. Taylor, of High-street, Rushden, who had volunteered for service with the army as an office telegraphist in the Royal Engineers, leaves Rushden on Monday for the Birmingham headquarters. Mr. Taylor has been employed at the Rushden Post Office for nine years.

Mr. Edgar J. Deacon, of the Wellingborough Office, a friend of Mr. Taylor’s, also expects to leave next week to join the Royal Engineers as an office telegraphist.

Rushden Echo, 22nd October 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

AccidentMr. T. Webb, postman, of 11, Victoria-road, Rushden, met with a painful accident on Tuesday morning. He was on his second delivery and slipped on the kerb of the pavement in High-street, badly spraining his ankle. Two of the Rushden special constables Mr. S. Field and Mr. H. Brawn, carried the injured man home. Mr. Webb’s doctor is afraid that the patient will not be able to get about for three weeks.

Rushden Echo, 8th February 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Sapper W. C. Taylor, R.E., son of Mr. W. Taylor, High-street, has been admitted to hospital in France, suffering from a fractured bone in the ankle. He has now been sent to a base hospital. He was telegraphist in the Rushden Post Office before joining the Colours.

Obituary Mr. Arthur Bertram West 1918

In 1907 long service awards were made to several postmen at Higham Ferrers post office, being the main office for the district.

They were:-
George White (34 years)
William Eaton (31),
John Lilley (24), and
Jonathan Seckington (34).

Mr R J Downing was the Postmaster at the time, and is standing behind them in the doorway.

long service postmen
Rushden Echo, Friday, August 15th, 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins.

Postmaster
The Chairman said he had received a letter from Mr. S. Field, wishing, through him, to thank the inhabitants of Rushden for the courtesy they had shown to him during his 17 years' stay at Rushden.

The Chairman added that they were all very sorry to lose Mr. Field, and they wished him and his family every success in their new sphere.

It was decided that the Clerk should write to Mr. Field, thanking him on behalf of the town for the way in which he had, carried out his duties.

Long service medal
In his uniform with long service medal
Imperial Service Medal (ISM) awarded to selected long-standing Post Office employees upon retirement.
medal
postcard
Jonathan Seckington sent a postcard, after his own retirement in 1907, to his old colleague H Tomlin


The Rushden Echo, 15th October, 1915
[part of a longer article]

Sergeant Robert Freeman, B Company 1/4th Northants, has seen three years’ service in the Leicesters, followed by five years in the Northamptons. He was employed as a postman at the Rushden Post Office. He said that returning from the Gallipoli Peninsula to England was like returning from hell to heaven.


Rushden Echo, 24th March 1916, transcribed by Kay Collins

Rushden Postman Meets Friends in Egypt
Reg. Sergt.-Major Marsden, 1st/4th Northants, of Rushden, formerly of Rushden postal staff, writing from Egypt, says the men are all looking fit and well. He adds: "Imagine my surprise on going down the lines the other day to hear myself greeted by a member of a new draft with "Hello Postman!" He had just come out, and hailed from Rushden. Of course, it was against discipline, but I was glad to find my townsmen turning up to do their bit."

Rushden Echo, 19th April 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Wireless Operator Cecil N. Clark, R.E., son of Mr. and Mrs. John Clark, High-street, and formerly at the Rushden Post Office, is attached to the 58th Division, which has been in the thick of the fighting during the last nine days. For six days they were fighting without cessation. Writing home on April 13th, he says: “We have had great times since last Tuesday. Our Lancashire lads have made a glorious name for themselves. I am glad to say I am safe and well. Of course, we all have had an anxious time of it. Things are quiet again now, and we are getting back to the old routine once more. Our lads gave Fritz a hell of a time, and he has not gained an inch of ground on the sector where we were. Our division has had scores of telegrams congratulating all ranks on the splendid work they have done during the last few days, and the wireless section has also been praised for their work. Hence, at the present time we are proud wearers of the Red Rose of Lancashire. Don’t worry too much, as I think the worst is over.”


Rushden Echo, October 14th 1921, transcribed by Kay Collins

Elsigood, the postman footballer, who plays for Rushden Thursday F.C., met with a painful accident early on Sunday morning while cycling between Ecton and Wilby. Through striking against a loose branch lying in the roadway, he was thrown heavily onto his right shoulder, which was badly injured. Although able to reach Rushden, he had to go to Northampton Hospital to have the injury treated, and has not since been able to resume his duties.


Mr RobertsRushden Echo, 13th May 1927, transcribed by Kay Collins

New Postmaster of Rushden
Presentation to Mr and Mrs E R Roberts
Northern tributes

Mr E R Roberts, formerly postmaster at Hebden Bridge, near Halifax, has now entered upon his duties as postmaster at Rushden. On leaving Hebden Bridge Mr and Mrs Roberts were the recipients of tokens of regard and esteem from the staff. [part of a longer article]


The Rushden Echo, 13th January 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins

Post Office—Yesterday morning an interesting ceremony took place at the Rushden Post Office, Mr E R Roberts, the postmaster, on behalf of himself and the staff, presenting Mr E H Durham (boy messenger), who has been promoted to the Shirebrook (Mansfield, Notts) Post Office, with an initialled English leather suitcase, as a token of the high esteem in which Mr Durham is held by the whole staff. Mr Durham very suitably responded.

Extract from a 1928 obituary
Mr. Webb is the oldest surviving postman in Rushden, having done nearly 30 years in this district. Much sympathy is felt with him in his bereavement. There are no children of the marriage.
The Rushden Echo, 3rd February 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins

Postal Staff Party—Last night the Staff of the Rushden Post Office held a social in the Adult Schools, invitations being sent to and accepted by the staffs at Wellingborough, Raunds, Stanwick, Irthlingborough, and Irchester. The company numbered about 100. Mr. A. W. Taylor, head postmaster, Wellingborough, was M.C. for the evening. Mr. R. West was the pianist. Interspersed with dancing were songs, recitals, etc. The soloists were Miss P. Abbott and Mr. E. R. Roberts (Rushden postmaster), Miss Hylda Gates was the recitalist. There were also games—musical arms, musical mat, and musical stick. A concerted item by members of the Rushden staff caused roars of laughter and applause. In this the ladies were dressed in men's clothing and the men in ladies' clothing, all worn backwards. To add to the illusion, masks were worn on the back of the heads and the party stood back to the audience until they had finished their singing, when they bowed (backward) and then turned round and showed their faces! Prizes to the winners of competitions were presented by Mrs. E. R. Roberts. Refreshments served during an interval had been arranged by Mrs. Durham.


Rushden Echo & Argus, 20th March 1931, transcribed by Kay Collins

Obituary—The death occurred at his home at 34 Harborough-road, Rushden, on Friday last, of a well-known former Rushden postman, Mr. John Tobias Lovell. He had been confined to his bed for five days. As a postman he was a familiar figure to many in the town having served for 24 years in that position. He retired about four years ago. Aged 68 years, Mr. Lovell was a native of Hinwick and a resident in Rushden over 40 years.


Mr Cunnington 1932

Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th September 1932, transcribed by Kay Collins

Gift to Postman

Mr Thomas Webb, the retiring rural postman for Newton Bromswold and Wymington, was presented by the Rushden staff with a silver cigarette case and a large number of cigarettes, the presentation being made by Mr Byner who made a kindy reference to Mr Webb’s long and efficient service. Mr Webb suitably responded and said the gift was a big surprise.


Rushden Echo and Argus, 27th April 1934, transcribed by Susan Manton

Obituary of Mr. T.H. Webb of Rushden

The death occurred at 11 Victoria Road, Rushden on Wednesday of Mr. Thomas Harry Webb, aged 66 years. He was well known and highly respected in the town and was for many years a postman at the Rushden Office. His wife predeceased him about two years ago.


Rushden Echo & Argus, 16th September 1932, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Presentation to Mr E R Roberts

Speeches of Sincere Tribute

Praise for Postal Staff

A presentation on Wednesday last week was made to Mr E R Roberts, who recently retires from the position of Postmaster at Rushden, owing to ill-health.

The ceremony took place in the dance room, kindly lent by Mr W Campion, of Ivy House, Church-street, and was attended by the whole of the Rushden Post Office Staff (excepting those on duty and on holidays), and by Mr H Byner, Head Post-master, of Wellingborough, and Mr E F Couldray, Superintendent, representing the Wellingborough staff.

Mr A Butcher, senior Indoor Officer at Rushden, opened the proceedings by expressing regret at losing Mr Roberts, especially as his retirement had been brought about by ill-health.

Asked to speak on behalf of the out-door staff, Mr Cherry said it was his privilege to do so at this farewell gathering to Mr and Mrs Roberts. “We regret that Mr Roberts is going.” He said ”and we doubly regret the cause which has led to his premature retirement. We hope that relief from the cares of office and the Brighton air will soon help him to recover his health and strength.

A Pleasant Time

“We trust the time spent in Rushden has been as pleasant to him as it has been to us. We have, of course, had our differences, but the happiest of families have that, even I suppose, those who apply for the Dunmow Flitch!”

Mr Cherry concluded by expressing best wishes to Mr and Mrs Roberts for their future health and happiness.

Called up by Mr Butcher to make the presentation to Mr Roberts, which consisted of a handsome silver teapot, Mr Byner paid tribute to the long service of Mr Roberts, who had commenced his career at Runcorn, Cheshire, as telegraph messenger in April 1888—44 years ago.

Mr Byner referred feelingly to the severe illnesses of both Mr and Mrs Roberts and said that when he came to Wellingborough he hoped it would be possible, with his help, to secure Mr Roberts retention in the service until normal retirement age for retirement. He responded well, continued Mr Byner, and often stayed on duty when others might have remained at home; he had been self sacrificing to the Department but sometimes happened that while the spirit was willing the flesh could not respond.
[more speeches and some entertainment]


Rushden Echo and Argus, 10th September 1937, transcribed by Kay Collins

New Postmaster

Rushden’s new postmaster, who succeeds Mr. C. H. Cunnington, now in Frome, is Mr. E. H. Forrester, who comes after eight years as postmaster of St. Ives, Hunts.

Mr ForresterMr. Forrester has had a long career in the Postal Service, starting at the very beginning as a messenger boy at Hinckley in 1897. He afterwards became an unpaid learner, and went to Nuneaton as a sorting clerk and telegraphist in 1901. After six years’ service there Mr. Forrester was transferred to Nottingham, and returned in 1920 to Hinckley, where, after another four years, he was appointed second-in-command. He was appointed to the postmastership of St. Ives in February 1929.

During the Great War Mr. Forrester served in the Royal Engineers, Signal Section, and saw service in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. A keen bowler, he is vice-president of the St. Ives Town Bowling Club. He is expected to take up his duties at Rushden in a fortnight’s time.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 29th August, 1941, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Postwoman Likes Her Work - Up at Five but Never has a Cold

Rushden’s first uniformed post-woman, Mrs. Margaret Dickson, had a number of interesting things to say about her war-time work when interviewed by an “Echo and Argus” reporter last week-end.

Our reporter found her at the G.P.O., busy about her duties, loading parcels onto a barrow in preparation for one of her rounds. She was wearing a new post-woman’s uniform which recently arrived for her and which includes dark blue trousers with the familiar postman’s red stripe down the seam.

Mother of three children and with a husband to look after, Mrs. Dickson, who lives at 115, Cromwell-road, has to fit in as best she can her duties as a housewife with those of helping to deliver the nation’s wartime letters.

“I have to get up a five every morning,” she told a reporter, “in order to be down at the Post Office to sort the letters and start my round.”

She walks five miles a day and found the work rather tiring at first. Now she is used to it and likes it. Indeed, she will tell you, it seems to suit her. She has been working as a post-woman since last Christmas and all through last winter she did not have to miss a day’s duty and did not even have a cold.

In The Last War

This is not the first war in which Mrs. Dickson has taken over a man’s job to help the country in its time of need. In the last war she worked on the railways, as a ticket collector at Crystal Palace. One war she collected tickets; the next she gives out letters!

Another post-woman is also employed at Rushden and other postal workers speak highly of the work that both are doing. “We all get on well together” is their verdict, while the Senior Postman (Mr. R. C. Cherry), says that they do their work very efficiently.

And what of the dogs, - those guardians of the home, who, unlike their masters and mistresses, never seem to welcome the arrival up the garden path of the uniformed figure who brings the letters? Even they it seems are mollified. Mrs. Dickson is not scared of them, for she says “even they are friendly. Perhaps they like women postmen better.”

A Londoner, Mrs. Dickson came to Rushden last September with her family. Her elder son is now in the forces and her husband is working in a local shoe factory.

She has only one complaint and it is this: she had to use up some of her precious clothing coupons in exchange for her new uniform. [Her son killed in action 1945]


Rushden Echo & Argus, 6th October 1944

Wollaston Sergeant Missing
A Wollaston man who was formerly employed at Rushden Post Office, and who took part in the first airborne landings in Holland, is officially reported as missing. He is Sergeant Harry Partridge, 24-year-old son of Mr and Mrs J Partridge, of 64 Station-road, Wollaston, who went overseas with the Airborne Division as a signaller. [part of a longer article]


post office team c1946
Post Office Football Team c1946

Back row l-r: Sydney Stocker, ?, Robert davidson, ?, ?, ?, ?

Front: centre Bill Burt


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st March, 1947, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Dog Attacks Postman

A Rushden postman gave evidence of being attacked by a dog when delivering letters, in a case at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

William Edwin Jones (59), caterer, 93, High-street South, Rushden, was charged with being the owner of a dangerous dog not kept under proper control at Rushden on February 17th. He was ordered to pay 17s. 4d. costs and keep the dog under control.

The postman, Sydney Stocker, said that he delivered mail to defendant’s house.

As he approached the house and was sorting the letters, a dog got hold of his trousers. It grazed and broke the skin of one let. Witness delivered the letters, and as he came away from the house defendant called: “The dog won’t hurt you.”

“I said ‘Maybe not, but he’s just had my leg,’ and Mr. Jones called him in,” said witness.

Scratches

P.C. Maddison said that there were four scratches near one of witness’s knees.

When he saw defendant at his home, he saw the dog, which was about seven. Defendant told him that he heard the dog bark and went out to find the postman holding his leg. He added that he invited the postman in, but he refused.

“When I visited the house, the dog was quite quiet, and did not attempt to attack me,” said witness.

Defendant told the court that the dog was used to people in his café and he could not understand why it had happened.

It belonged to his son, who was in India.


Cyril Percival

Rushden Echo & Argus, 11th July 1947

Postman Decorated

A POSTMAN for 35 years, Mr. Cyril Percival, of Rushden, has been awarded the Imperial Service Medal by the King.

a longer article was published the previous week


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st May 1959, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Post Office van drivers
Five of the six Rushden Post Office van drivers who gained safe driving awards gather near their vans after Inspector Ellis had presented them with their certificates.

l-r: Mr A Morrow, Mr M L Lamb, Mr W Birt, Mr W Cox, and Mr A R Mantle behind the wheel. Missing from the picture is Mr C G Childs, who was out on his rounds.

Many safe journeys
While his five colleagues were receiving their safe-driving awards from Rushden Police Inspector H. Ellis on Wednesday morning, Mr. C. G. Childs, a post office van driver, was out on his rounds, completing yet another safe journey.

Mr. Childs was one of six drivers to gain awards, the highest one being presented to Mr. A. McMorrow, who received a second bar to his five-year medal.

Mr. W. A. Birt received a first bar to a five-year medal, Mr. W. J. Cox, first year certificate; Mr. A. R. Mantle, second year certificate; and Mr. M. L. Lamb, third year certificate.

The postmaster, Mr. F. Ford, in introducing Inspector Ellis to the drivers, said the Rushden office had a very good record – over 28,000 miles were covered yearly, 20,000 of them in the town under difficult traffic conditions – and there had been no accidents.


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