History of the Post Office in Meldreth

The Old Smithy, site of Meldreth's first Post Office
Bell's Postcard supplied by Ann Handscombe
Meldreth Post Office in 1920
Robert H Clark Postcard
Cottage in Meldreth High Street prior to the addition of a shop, Post Office & newsagents in 1924, when purchased by Fred & Bessie Handscombe
Photograph courtesy of Teddy Handscombe
Meldreth Post Office 1924
Bell's Postcard
Postmaster Mr Walter Reed working in the Post Office, High Street, Meldreth. c. 1965
Photo supplied by Meldreth W.I.
Closing of the letter box in 1993
Ann Handscombe
Post Office Savings Bank book No. 1 (Meldreth). The first entry is for 2nd April 1925.
Supplied by Ann Handscombe

The first Meldreth village Post Office was situated in a room at the home of the Hale family in North End. It was in existence from at least 1864, when it is first mentioned in Kelly’s Directory. This thatched cottage was also the site of the forge.  Letters were delivered by horse drawn mail cart and telegrams were sent by morse code.

The  Post Office  was moved to another cottage in Meldreth High street in approximately 1910.  In 1919 Frederick Handscombe from Melbourn bought the cottage with the Post Office and became the village postman.  Telegrams could be sent using a machine with a pointed dial for each letter.  Later a telephone was installed.

In 1924 Fred Handscombe purchased the cottage on the opposite side of the road, built a shop on the side then extended the business to include groceries and a newsagents.  A post box was built into the front wall of the cottage.

The Handscombe family continued with the business until 1963 after which it was bought by Mr. Reed.   In 1993 the shop closed with the Post Office and newsagents being transferred to the other village store, One Stop, in the High Street.  The old Post Offices are now private dwellings.

Comments about this page

  • My Uncle, Walter Reed, was the postmaster from 1963. My grandmother, Kathleen Hammond also stayed in the Post Office at that time. I stayed during the school holidays, which meant 7-10 weeks a year in the 1960s.

    By Michael Hammond (29/10/2021)
  • On December 10th 1925 Meldreth Parish Council carried unanimously a proposal to send a resolution be sent to the Postmaster General, “That the Parish Council of Meldreth ask the Postmaster General to consider the desirability of making the Post Office a full office owing to the number of Licenses issued, and the inconvenience caused to the inhabitants having to go to Melbourn or elsewhere to do their business.”

    Unfortunately the Post Master General refused the application (reported March 24th 1926) stating: “after due consideration of the amount of business likely to be done at the Meldreth Post Office, he did not feel justified in acceding to the Council’s request”.

    By Bruce Huett (27/10/2018)

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