April 09, 2012

THE WORLD'S OLDEST POST OFFICE

Sanquhar Post Office in Dumfries and Galloway first opened its doors in 1712 — just five years after the unification of England and Scotland 

It is now owned by Penny, 49, and Richard Murphy, 55, who have been postmaster and mistress for just seven months. Regulars include the family of the post office's former postmaster and his father, who ran the business for more than 70 years.
Mum-of-four Penny, believed to be the office's first ever postmistress, said the family will mark the 300th anniversary of opening with a party in the summer. She said: "There is a lot of responsibility, we not only bought the building but took on the history too.

"It's a lovely but challenging job to have, you never know who's going to walk through the door."

"We have a lot of really good support from the community which hopefully will pay dividends in the future."

"Last week we re-opened the original door which was sealed for 20 years. We are trying to take things back a step — and at the same time progress forward."

"We have a national treasure, which in reality should be an international treasure, and that's something we are really proud of."

The post office first opened in 1712 as a "change house" for letters but the first record of a postmaster running the business was in 1739. In 1738, workers began stamping mail by hand at the sorting office to the rear of the building.
The role of postmaster was seen as an honour and often held by men in other authoritative roles such as school masters, town clerks and ceremonial heads.In 1862 the post office became one of the first authorised savings banks in Scotland.

The post office was modernised in 1974 when hand stamping was replaced by a hand-operated cancelling machine, known as a "bacon slicer". The post office was eventually sold to the Thompson family who ran it until last year when Penny and her husband took over.

The post office was renovated in 1997 but many of the original features have been retained.
By: Livecam India Post  via  katiharho,saparavur,dheeru24k

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