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Oct 11

Where was the Post Office

The Post OfficeThere are several houses in Ashford Carbonel named after their former occupiers occupations, but during the last 100 years or so, the Post Office has moved around rather a lot.
The first mention of a postal service is in Kelly’s Directory of 1870, when Richard Preece was listed as Post Office Receiver and shoemaker. The Census Return of 1871 gives him as living at the Post Office, in a property lying between no 7 (now Curry Stone Cottage) and the Blacksmith’s Shop. He was already living there in 1847, when the site is described as comprising a house, buildings and garden (it is now three dwellings). By 1879 Henry Perry had become Post Office Receiver (later elevated to Sub-Postmaster). He was living at No 6, now Donkey Cottage, so the Post Office moved to that address. Henry Perry was also Parish Clerk, a post he held for 50 years, until his death in 1894. His son, John Perry, succeeded him in both positions and, as he lived at No 3, that in its turn became the Post Office.
Kelly’s Directory for 1905 tells us that letters through Ludlow arrived at Ashford Carbonel at 7.20am and 5.00pm and were despatched at 10.20am and 6.20pm. There was no Sunday delivery. Postal orders were issued and paid, but the nearest money and telegraph office was at Ludlow. There was a wall letter box near the entry to Ashford Court which was cleared at 5.10pm and another at Ashford Manor, which was cleared at 5.40pm.
On 23rd September 1906, John Perry, who was by then a widower, married a widow, Mrs Sarah Minchall who lived at No 5 with her daughter Bertha Emma. John Perry moved in with his bride at that time, and the Post Office remained at No 5 for about 50 years, until the late 1950’s. On 22nd October 1918 Bertha married Herbert George Hayle. She followed John Perry, her step-father, as Post Mistress, while Bert became Parish Clerk and Sexton. The Hayles were such an integral part of village life that the new housing development off Donkey Lane was named after them.
In the late 1950’s the Post Office went back to its original home, the shop (now Kelt Cottage) which had been taken over by the Taylor family. When they gave up the business in the 1960’s, the Post Office was continued for two or three years at No 10 by Mrs MacNorton, whose husband worked at Richard Lloyd’s factory at Tenbury. But she began to find it rather a chore and gave it up. By this time the GPO had put so many restrictions and conditions on the running of Sub-Post Offices, that no one could be found who was willing to take on the responsibility. The GPO were eventually persuaded to provide a once weekly service at the Village Hall and this lasted until 2014, when the service was discontinued and so we lost our Post Office after over 140 years.
Phyllis Ray