Stonehouse History Group

Stonehouse Post Office Opening

STROUD NEWS AND GLOUCESTER COUNTY ADVERTISER, FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3, 1933


THE NEW STONEHOUSE POST OFFICE


Last October (1932) a “Stroud News” reporter inspected the new telephone exchange at Stonehouse, and, before leaving, gathered information that prompted the following.  ”He was shown over the Post Office, which has a very unofficial exterior and still resembles the draper’s shop it formally was - even to a faint but obvious advertisement, on the plate-glass windows, for somebody or other’s corsets!  The interior is most inconvenient from the officials’ point of view, but there is also the prospect, in the near future, of Stonehouse being provided with an imposing office with all the latest improvements, not far from the new telephone exchange.  Nothing definite has yet been sanctioned, we understand, but the matter is receiving very serious consideration.“


Since then great things have been happening, with the result that Stonehouse can now be credited with as fine a Post Office, for its size, as any in the kingdom.  Besides being a credit to the postal authorities it is an achievement of considerable note as regards the contractors, Messrs. A. R. Blick and Son, of Stonehouse, who have, in nine months, produced a building of consistently excellent workmanship.


The new office presents an imposing façade to the main street of Stonehouse. Built in modern style of multicolour-brick fired in the village, it has large windows and a convenient corner entrance.  The external woodwork is painted ivory-white. Also to be seen and used from outside, are an automatic stamp-machine and a posting box, the latter receiving letters straight into the sorting-room. These two facilities, and a clock, will all be illuminated electrically with the latest strip-lights.


Inside, the public part of the office is found to be a well-furnished, commodious room, panelled in Japanese oak, which gives a sense of airiness and cleanliness. The marbled floor accentuates this.  There is a walnut counter, while for the writing of telegrams a black glass desk is provided.  The usual accessories, ink-wells and the like, have been selected with an eye to beauty as well as efficiency.


Adjoining the public part, is the postmaster’s office, well appointed and with a pine-block floor.  Without any time-wasting corridors or inconvenient steps, it is an easy matter to reach the sorting-room from the postmaster’s office.  None of the old inconveniences will assail the postal officials in this roomy department, which has a maple-block floor. The usual sorting-room furniture has been disposed to the best advantage of those who have to use it, and no doubt they will appreciate the change when the Christmas rush breaks.  The women’s retiring-room adjoins one end, and, as with the new exchange, nothing has been skimped in providing maximum comfort and cleanliness.  The same may be said of the men’s retiring-room, which has enamelled-top tables, and electric light of the modern kind.  In the sorting-room, too, the lighting is calculated to facilitate the work of the officials, for shadow-less lamps have been installed.


At the back of the building are the usual out-door offices, including garages with sliding doors.  The messenger’s room is connected by a hatch with the postmaster’s office, and is, of course, electrically lit.  The yard is surfaced with tarred stone and all doors opening on it have an outdoor light above them.


Easily reached from inside or out, the facilities for washing have the attractive chromium-plated fittings.


Finally, for those long-suffering people who use public call-offices, a telephone cubicle on which great care has been exercised has been built into the permanent wall (interior) of the office.



THE OPENING


On Thursday afternoon the doors of the office were opened with a golden key by Sir Stephen Tallents, Public Relations Officer to the G.P.O., in the presence of postal officials from all over the county and prominent residents of the locality. The first sale and purchase took place amid a crowd of onlookers.  Lady Marling, in the temporary role of postmistress, sold Mr. R. W. D. Perkins, M.P. for Stroud, a penny stamp.


Those present at the preceding public gathering included Mr. C. A. Jackson, G.P.O. Surveyor for the South Wales District, who presided; Lady Marling, Capt. B. D. Parkin (chairman of the Stonehouse Parish Council), Mr. W. A. Sibly, Mr. A. S. Winterbotham, Capt. F. G. Lee (postmaster at Stonehouse), Mr. H. D. Macdonald (head postmaster, Stroud), and the member of Parliament for the Division, Mr. Perkins.


Mr. Macdonald having briefly introduced Mr. Jackson, the latter, in expressing thanks to Sir Stephen Tallents for his visit, remarked that Sir Stephen’s experience would be invaluable in the Post Office, where they had been rather inclined to hide their light under a bushel.  By means of a Public Relations Officer alone could contact be maintained between the postal authorities and the public.  Mr. Jackson described the progress being made in all departments in Gloucestershire and the country generally.


Sir Stephen, addressing the gathering, applauded the idea of a public opening for their new office.  It should not be allowed to slink into the world unnoticed, he declared.  In a sense a district earned its Post Office, and when it got one it should be a time of celebration.  Mentioning the important industrial character of the district, Sir Stephen, continuing, gave interesting statistics on the correspondence passing through Stonehouse postal authorities’ hands.  While some 900,000 letters came into the district of Stonehouse annually, only about 600,000 went out.  Perhaps they were more up-to-date than their correspondents, and replied by telephone (laughter).  Concluding, Sir Stephen spoke in glowing terms of the telephone service, which he described as a wonderful window to the world.


Master Alan Blick presented Lady Marling with a bouquet.


Mr. Leo. Blick, on behalf of Messrs. A. R. Blick and Son, the builder, thanked the postal officials for their assistance.


Capt. B. D. Parkin, proposing the vote of thanks to Sir Stephen Tallents, stressed the geographical importance of Stonehouse, and paid a tribute to the efficiency of the local postal staff, naming Capt. Lee, Mr. Hill and Mr Foxworthy, not forgetting the rest of the Staff, even to the messenger-boys.


Not content with the spacious new building, Mr. R. W. D. Perkins adopted, good- humoured, the role of Oliver Twist, in seconding the vote.  He asked for the return of the penny post, and for cheaper air-mail facilities.

Supporting the vote of thanks, Mr. W. A. Sibly also put in a plea for a return to that inestimable boon the penny post.

The vote of thanks to Mr. Jackson, the Chairman, was proposed by Lady Marling and seconded by Mr. A. S. Winterbotham.



Note: Original newspaper article loaned by Mrs Blick, widow of “Master Alan Blick” who presented Lady Marling with a bouquet at the opening ceremony.


                                             LEO BLICK     SIR  STEPHEN TALLENTS  ROBERT PERKINS MP

CAPT BEN PARKIN               CAROLINE WINTERBOTHAM - LADY MARLING  

                                               C A JACKSON                                                       W A SIBLEY    A S WINTERBOTHAM