Post Office Services

A full history behind Royal Mail and the public services since 1635 is found on the Postal Heritage website
1800 Mail Coach
Their example of an 1800 mail stage coach shows what would then have been the grand tourer of its day. A master over the turnpiked roads, with available seating also providing first regular intercity passenger transport. En route, and with need for changing horses around every 10 miles, our nearest stopping points proved to be the two larger towns of Alfreton and Mansfield. From those sorting offices a lighter mail gig or simple walk long sufficed for making daily deliveries into smaller areas, plus despatching letters that all in time would become distributed nationwide by faster steam railroads.King St

Our earliest localised post office opened in 1837, situated of course at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Its first postmaster Charles Plumbe, served the whole Sutton district until 1863, initially from Little Lane. Relocation for a new office facing the Market Place finds services jointly run by chemists. The 1883 death of Mr S Littlewood passed over both interests to Messrs Wharmby and Phillips until their partnership dissolved in 1884. This office nearby on end of King Street opened October 16th 1892 added telegraph communications, while Huthwaite had acquired its own services.

Huthwaite Post Offices

William Hill became recognised for opening the first Huthwaite post office sited upon Market Street. Exact year is so far unconfirmed. Comparing identified listings from nearest found dated commercial directories indicates sometime between 1853 and 1862, with good chance of soon following his 1853 marriage. Their reported diamond wedding is what helps shed light upon those former duties as the official Hucknall Huthwaite postmaster. In reference to records kept from latter years of business he suggests; in the early seventies a typical weeks mail consisted of thirty letters, three cards, two newspapers and a book.

While Huthwaite initially individually received and despatched all its mail through an Alfreton office, Mr Hill made at least one daily walk into Blackwell. There he met a chap part way for transferring the mail sack. Market St A light load, although his single handed duties obviously also necessitated house deliveries, and stamping outgoing letters.

William relinquished all postal duties by mid 1870's. Handing over official postmaster title to Samuel Lowe who may have relocated the post office some short time nearby. He finally reclaimed Mr Hills established address facing Market Street, as shown in later years after 1907 under newly recognised title Huthwaite Post Office.

Samuel Lowe does appear earlier titled a hosiery agent, whom with wife Ann listed as farmer are both shopkeepers. Firstly reflected with newer role in the 1881 Gazetteer, it notes all Huthwaite mail now comes via Mansfield Offices. The journey personally undertaken daily by horse and cart also sees Mr S Lowe adding a regular Huthwaite carrier cart service.

1884 Postmen

Smartly uniformed in 1884 these Sutton postmen include given names; Slack, Whetton and Charlton. Unnamed officials only leaves slimmest chance of recognising Samuel Lowe from Hucknall Huthwaite. In fact, his duties do not appear aided beyond running a family business when the above Post Office added money orders and a telegraph service by 1888, followed soon after with Annuity and Insurance schemes.

Listings from 1894 interestingly identify Mr Lowe being subpostmaster plus beer retailer. This may suggest employment of district postmen giving extra time to briefly open a potential Crown Inn, likewise started by Mr Hill beforehand. Shopkeepers Misses Sarah and Lavina Lowe continued the family name in farming and grocery trades. But so far unclarified as directly related are Arthur Rowland Lowe when victualler at the Peacock, plus Joseph Lowe. The latter is later recognised being another carrier to Mansfield, although it seems quite likely he took over Samuel's daily ride to exchange mail through those sorting offices.

It can be deduced that Mr Lowe closed his Market Street Post Office by 1909. All those older properties formerly addressing Ellispool upon the market area would eventually face demolition. The above photograph also reveals smaller cottages fronting Pudding Bag Yard, whose earlier fate was ordered by slum clearance, but left space of later significance.

New Fall Street

The late Mr Tom Hardwick did tell me that a Post Office Yard lent past reference to this business once being sited below New Fall Street, in what became later known as the Bottoms Beer Off. No actual records have yet been found to help back up his usually precise recall, but I now share this belief because Mrs Betty Smith similarly noted it had been expressed among her Living Memory Group. Although the associated surname given as Swindle is not readily recognised in the trade directories covering Huthwaite around 1910, that estimated year may just fill short period between a recognised transfer from Lowe, over to Quayle.

Mr A Quayle took over the official duties of Postmaster from 1909, adding Stationary business interests into a newly built shop front addressed 201 Sutton Road. Although focus is upon her mothers own hairdressing salon, Sutton RoadMrs Seagrave kindly provides a rare glimpse of the Huthwaite Post Office when still originally stood next door.

The marriage joining Mr Alfred Quayle with a Mrs Lily Quayle had founded a partnership for opening this Sutton Road Post Office. Alfred may have led the enterprise, but Lily did equally hold sub-postmistress listing in 1912. Likewise emerging as highly respected staff of the Post Office, Mr Quayle showed particular courtesy also on the Committee which organised an annual Old People's Treat.

Both adjoining shopfronts had been built directly facing Urban District Council offices, aside which would later site the Huthwaite Free Library. Between those roadside buildings opposite their telegram office, the postal service installed our first public telephone kiosk in 1932. 2004 Councillors hoping to assert independent town status obviously proved eager to sanction this progress. The only surprise is taking another two years before electing to electrically light their own premises. British Telecomm took over a familiar but often vandalised red kiosk. This replacement ultimately losing connection after 72 years.

Huthwaite did also once boast up to five pillar boxes, but cannot yet identify any other postmen. One employee is revealed by a 1932 Petty Court hearing. Among several shopkeepers facing similar fine given to Fred Buckberry of the Post Office, Sutton Road, he admitted selling a tin of salmon at 9.30 pm, pleading ignorant of the fact it was an offence after hours when new to the business. The case did not affect the principal business diligently conducted between Mr and Mrs Quayle until 1935.

Untimely death of Alfred Quayle aged 55 does eventually expose three postmen. Among the mourners and representing Huthwaite Outdoor Staff are Mr. Tomlinson, Misses Brailsford and Hursthouse. Messrs. Wain and Walker represented the Mansfield Head Office Postal Staff. Mrs Lily Quayle successfully went on running the post office beyond last found gazetteer entry in 1941. With no children to continue the business, the Quayle surname would then also disappear from Huthwaite, having paved way into the modern day.

Huthwaite Post Office

Last newly built relocation for a present day Post Office finds it again addressed upon same short street where first begun. Opposite road side this time, address 19 Market Street, facing onto an open car park. The plot of land covering area of Pudding Bag Yard was cleared of decrepid cottages circa 1950. Seeing 2003 relaid pavements, before and after which, the property itself has been modified to suit resident needs, plus shop security and safer customer access.

It survived national closures that struck other local General Post Offices. A computerised 21st century affords alternative means of communication. Use of the old pillar box and postal counter for handling outgoing mail, parcels and handy services is still demanded though. Private companies compete for business, although most mail and parcels still come via our Sutton sorting office, hand delivered to our homes in reliable old fashion way by a cavalry of postmen on trusty bicycles.


British Telecommunications Plc can claim title as the world's oldest telecommunications company. The origins of BT go back to the 1850s telegraph. In 1868 control was passed to the GPO (General Post Office). Telephone services were started in 1876 and until 1965 when it became a nationalised industry, the GPO functioned as a government department. BT was founded in 1981 when the GPO was split into postal and telecommunications divisions, and privatised on the 6th August 1984. We obviously now have vast choice between landline and mobile service providers.

Written 04 Jan 13 and Revised 11 Jun 13 © by Gary Elliott