Walk follows the history of Bexhill’s postal services

Oostal History SUS-160621-101725001
Oostal History SUS-160621-101725001

Paul Wright led a Museum walk exploring 500 years of the Royal Mail around Bexhill on Sunday.

Bexhill’s first post office was linked to the establishment of the King’s German Legion’s barracks in the Old Town in 1804.

In 1818 a “Penny Post” was set up for the exchange of mail between Battle, acting as the “Head Office”, and Bexhill as the Receiving House.

With the introduction of the Uniform Penny Post in 1840 a postal office was established in a cottage tacked on to the side of “Genista” in Belle Hill (now called Goddard House) this remained until the 1850s.

At this time mail still went via Battle; a postman would walk each way every day with the mail. By the late 1860s the sub-office was now under Hastings control. By the 1870s the post office had moved to No 2 High Street which was Reeves’ grocers, drapers, milling and bakery shop.

The post office stayed here until 1895. In 1896 the post office moved to 8a High Street where Miss Elizabeth Nye was the first post mistress. In 1897 this was renamed Bexhill Old Town when Buckhurst Road office opened in the “New Town”.

This High Street office remained until the Second World War. The final move was to 16 High Street until final closure in 2003.

1897 saw the Bexhill-on-Sea [new town] office in Buckhurst Road opening with William H Chapman as Head Postmaster from 1897 to 1915.

Buckhurst Road became a Head Office in 1914, independent of Hastings. This office closed in November 1931 when the new Devonshire Square office opened south of the railway and more convenient for the developing town.

The town had another post office at 16 Sea Road from 1908, transferring to Endwell Road in 1915, which itself closed in 1931.

There are 88 letter boxes in the TN39 and TN40 catchment areas. 69 are pillar boxes, 9 are wall boxes and 9 are lamp boxes.

There are 6 Victorian boxes, 2 Victorian wall boxes, 5 Edward VII, 30 George V, 7 George VI and 39 Elizabeth II letter boxes. There are no Edward VIII boxes in Bexhill.

There was a post box on the corner of Linden Road and Marina. On two occasions in 1913 the letter box was attacked by suffragettes who poured a fluid of an adhesive nature into the box, defacing numerous letters.

The next walk is on Sunday 03 July, meeting at 2pm at the War Memorial, Marina. The subject will be Bexhill 1916 – a look at our town and people a hundred years ago. The cost is £3; accompanied children £1.50. Sorry no dogs.

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