Harpenden's sub-post offices

Serving new communities, north, south and east from the 1870s

By Rosemary Ross

Information supplied by Geoff Woodward and Graham Norman

Bowling Alley - Southdown

Photo:The first post office, at 45 Cravells Road, late 1890s

The first post office, at 45 Cravells Road, late 1890s

LHS archives, LHS 02935

It appears that the first 'sub' post office served the Bowling Alley from around 1900 from 45 Cravells Road, run by Harriet Humphries until about 1926.

 

However, Kelly's Directory for 1901 also lists Albert J Carter as postmaster and grocer at 102 Wheathampstead (later Southdown) Road - though his family home was at 97 Wheathampstead Road - nearer to the railway bridge, and now the site of Walkers Court. Maybe this was just a short-term venture. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bates family

Photo:Eileen Bates outside 135 Southdown Road, 1960s

Eileen Bates outside 135 Southdown Road, 1960s

LHS archives, LHS 13360, photo donated by G Norman

Photo:Eileen Bates at the counter, 1962

Eileen Bates at the counter, 1962

LHS archives, LHS 13360, photo donated by G Norman

 

In 1927 Stanley and Eva Bates started the Southdown Post Office and Newsagency business at 126 Southdown Road (TaxAssist accountants in 2017). When the parade of shops at the corner of Southdown Road and Piggotshill Lane was built by the local builder Josiah Thomas Fowler, Stan and Eva purchased 135 Southdown Road and transferred their business to that address where they continued to flourish, with their daughter Eileen taking it over, probably in the early 1960s.

On 18 January 1982 Eileen Bates sold the business to Johnson Central Retail Ltd of Bath (JCR), a chain of newsagents. But in mid 1983 JCR sold the business to Kenneth Balfour Ltd of Hayes (trading as Balfour News).

Photo:The former post office changed hands in 2009

The former post office changed hands in 2009

LHS archives - LFC 2010, LHS 11314

Photo:Doris  Gibbard, on her retirement in the 1980s (?)

Doris Gibbard, on her retirement in the 1980s (?)

LHS archives, LAF-NC 1.60

Balfour News were taken over by the Co-operative Group in 2004, but when the lease expired, the Co-operative Group, who were then negotiating the takeover of the Somerfield supermarket, sold the Balfour shop. The Post Office were reluctant to maintain a sub post-office in Southdown, but the Co-op was able to negotiate for it to be moved into the new store on 18 November 2010 - where it is much appreciated.

 

Photo:Move to the Co-op - Post Office in the store

Move to the Co-op - Post Office in the store

LHS archives - LFC 2016, LHS 15616

Photo:Post office counter within the Co-op

Post office counter within the Co-op

LHS archives, LFC 2016, LHS 15617


Batford Post Office - at 107 Station Road - Station Road North

Photo:Station Road North Post Office, opposite the Railway Inn

Station Road North Post Office, opposite the Railway Inn

LHs archives - LAF-NC 1.22, scan from photocopy of newscutting

Photo:Station Road North franking stamp

Station Road North franking stamp

LHS archives - artefacts - LHS 002559

The post-office at the corner of Station Road and Marquis Lane opened in the mid 1880s, and survived on the same site until it was forced to close on 14 October 2008 - one of a series of closures. The row of shops and houses, with dormer windows, opposite the Great Northern/Railway Inn built in the 1880s appears to have been rebuilt in the 1930s.

Photo:Station Road North, 1920s

Station Road North, 1920s

LHS archives, LAF-NC 1.21

Photo:The post office in the 1980s, removal of old street sign

The post office in the 1980s, removal of old street sign

LHS archives, Rodney Marshall, LHS 15397

Photo:Station Road North post office, shortly before it closed in 2008

Station Road North post office, shortly before it closed in 2008

LHS archives, LFC 2008, LHS 10329

 

Unlike the closure of Luton Road North, the campaign to protest at the closure attracted local press attention - though without affecting the outcome.

Photo:Herts Advertiser report, 10 July 2008

Herts Advertiser report, 10 July 2008

LHS archives - RB-NC 1.4d

Luton Road North 

The post office serving Harpenden north of the railway (now the Nickey Line trail) was opened between 1900 and 1908.  it closed, despite protests, in 2004 - the first of the Harpenden sub-post-offices to be targetted for closure.

Photo:105 Luton Road

105 Luton Road

LHS archives, LFC 1997, LHS 00595600

 

Kinsbourne Green

The sub-post office serving Kinsbourne Green opened in 1937, and remains busy and open.

Photo:3 The Pavement, Kinsbourne Green

3 The Pavement, Kinsbourne Green

LHS archives - LFC 1997, LHS 005962

The Old Sorting Office, Luton Road

Photo:The former Sorting office, shortly before demolition in March 2016

The former Sorting office, shortly before demolition in March 2016

Lindi Frith, from a Google image posted on "Old Harpenden Years Gone By" Facebook page

 

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 14/02/2017.

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