Dursley Post Office

The "Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture" for 1791 records that Dursley's postmaster was Mathew Church and that there was "post in and out daily". At the same time the distributor of stamps was a Mr Richard Williams who was also the town's banker, a big responsibility no doubt. By 1822, Pigot's directory expands on this, stating that:

"Mail arrives from London at a quarter before twelve at noon, and is dispatched at a quarter before two in the afternoon. - The Oxford, Cirencester, &c for the London Mail. - Mails from Birmingham and Bristol arrive at six in the morning, and are dispatched at eight in the evening. - Mail from Wotton-under-Edge arrives at eight in the evening, and is dispatched at six in the morning."

By this time the Post Office was stated as being in Long Street and its postmaster was Thomas Baldwin although by 1830 Pigot records that the person in charge had changed to postmistress Sarah Baldwin, presumably a relative. By 1863 the Post Office Directory for Gloucestershire reveals that the postmaster was John Owen and also that letters were delivered at 7am and 8:30pm. Kelly's Directory for 1902 notes a further change - the postmistress was Miss Rebecca Jane Clark. It also provides extensive tables of times for all incoming and outgoing mails, no doubt making good use of the railway which by this time was well established.

By the begining of the 20th century the Post Office was in Parsonage Street close to the old Police Station although by around 1940 it had been replaced by a large new building opposite The Crescent which still survives in 2004 although no longer in post office use. This building was extended to house an automated telephone exchange. The earlier building survived until the late 1950s when it was demolished.

Today, in 2004, the services of the Post Office are provided by a small area within Bailey's newsagent shop close to the Market House.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)
    Dursley Post Office in Parsonage Street
The old Dursley Post office building in Parsonage Street which used to be situated about halfway between the Kings Head and the Market House. Shown outside the door are (left-right) Miss Kathleen Cook, Miss Walsh, Miss Mabel Blandford and the postmaster Ted Cook.
(c1930s - courtesy David Evans and Keith Vigus)
    Construction of the new Post Office
Dursley Post Office under construction at the start of the Second World War. As building work had already started when war broke out it was one of the few buildings that was allowed to be completed and it finally opened around 1940. The Tabernacle can be seen in the background.
(c1939 - courtesy David Evans and Otto Mellerup)
    Dursley Post Office and The Crescent
Looking clean and new, Dursley's Post Office is seen here in quieter days. Opposite can be seen the houses of the Crescent and beyond the Tabernacle. The area in front of the building is a parking area for the infrequent cars.
(c1940s - courtesy David Evans)
    Post Office staff during World War Two
Seen here are the staff of Dursley Post Office during World War Two. In the centre of the first seated row is the postmaster Mr Menhennick and to his left Mrs Heath who was in charge of the telephone exchange. The remaining staff are mainly postmen and telephone girls.
(c1943 - courtesy David Evans)
    Dursley Post Office in peaceful times
There seem to be a fair number of people in the streets in this view so maybe it was a Saturday. The parking area in front of the building has here been segregated from the main road but still seems quiet.
(c1950s - courtesy David Evans)
    Dursley Post Office
A good view showing the full extent of the building which is not unattractive. By this time the building had been extended at the rear for use as a telephone exchange. There also appears to be some building work going on in front of the building.
(1980 - courtesy David Evans)