44 Anson Road was Wolverton’s only, and it appears last, sub Post Office. This has now been converted to a residence with few clues that it was once a shop. The bay window is probably recent. if memory serves me correctly the shop window was originally plate glass. They also sold stationery and some toys around Christmastime. It was run by a man named Longmore and it was clearly named the Anson Road Post Office.
That much is simple and straightforward, but when I checked back in the Trade Directories to see when it might have started up I encountered a surprise. Up to 1939, the address was 44 Jersey Road, not Anson Road!
Some facts first, from Kelly’s Directory:
1924 Henry Riddell, shopkeeper, Post Office 44 Jersey Road
1928 Henry Riddell, shopkeeper, Post Office 44 Jersey Road
1931 Henry Riddell, shopkeeper, Post Office 44 Jersey Road
1935 Wm S Longmore shopkpr & post office, 44 Jersey Road
1939 Wm S Longmore statnr. & post office, 44 Jersey Road
I spoken to one or two people who are possibly old enough to recall if it was ever in Jersey Road. The house that is there shows little evidence of ever having been a shop other that a side door on Aylesbury Street, but I have to assume that the Kelly’s directory was right. Even if there was a mistake in the 1924 edition it would not have survived for 15 years and two owners.
It is not immediately obvious what Mr Longmore gained from the move. The Anson Road address might have been larger and was certainly a slightly newer building.
Some time back I wrote about the first Post Office on Bury Street, operated by the butcher, George Gilling. When those buildings were torn down in the 1850s, the enterprising Charles Aveline put up this first privately built house on the Stratford Road. I believe that the Post Office stayed here until the new General Post Office was opened on Church Street in the 1930s.
This is probably not the best photo to show this, but the first two-story house, Number 6 was the Post Office. It looks as if Aveline built this and what is now 7 and 8 together. In 1861 he was the only resident. The building next, with the slightly different roofline, now 9a and b, was an early grocery store, operated by Abraham Culverhouse.
The arrival of the railway at Wolverton coincided with the development of a more universal postal service. The Penny Post, symbolised by the famous Penny Black stamp, was introduced byRowland Hill in 1840. The growth of railways made the post office possible.
The first Postmaster was a Stony Stratford butcher, George Gilling. He opened up a butcher’s shop on Bury Street and ran the post office next door.
As far as I can tell the Post office operated here until this part of Wolverton was pulled down in the mid 1850s. The Post Office then moved to one of the first houses built on the Stratford Road. This time the franchise went to Charles Aveline the local builder.
Postal delivery in the 1840s was undertaken by Joseph Anstee who live on Cooke Street. He was probably only paid a few shillings a week for this daily task and to make ends meet had to accommodate four lodgers, as well as his family of five, in his two room house.