ETWALL POST OFFICE
John Pritchard-Jones 2009
There is reference to a Post Office in Etwall in 1857 in
Whites Trade Directory. The Post Master was Joseph Platts. This information was collected in October 2005 from conversations with Joan Charles and Norman Stansfield, the present owner of the Post Office.
The present site is on Willington Road and was first occupied by Mrs Beech who had a shop in one room as a greengrocer.
The business was taken over by Mr Dunn. His wife looked after the shop and he took a mobile shop in a van around the outlying district.
In 1959, Maurice Charles bought the shop, married Joan in 1960 and converted the shop into a Post Office in 1969 when the Wickams retired from the old post office. Maurice and Joan retired in 1988 and sold the business to Mr Steiner, who after about a year sold it to Keith and Margaret Handley in 1989.
Shelagh and Norman Stansfield purchased the property in April 2003 and made major alterations in 2004/2005. This extended the area of the shop, moved the Post office counter to the rear of the shop, and opened a small café at the front, an amenity the village never had before!
The ‘Old Post Office’
The ‘Old’ Post Office was located opposite the Church in the house that is still called ‘the Old Post office’. The original Post Master was Heath. Followed by Ted and Bessy Wickam, who took over until they retired in 1969. The original post office used to have an entrance porch on the front. Now long gone. It is now a private dwelling.
The following extract is taken from The Derby Evening Telegraph in the mid 1930’s
PICTURESQUE UNIFORM OF ETWALL’S POSTWOMAN
One of the quaintest figures in Derbyshire is Miss E Poole of Chapel Row Etwall, probably the only Postwoman in the country who wears the picturesque uniform of her calling.
For more than 20 years Miss Poole has been a familiar and popular figure in Etwall, delivering her dispatch of letters and parcels twice each day with unfailing regularity. To a stranger, however, Miss Poole is an interesting figure. She wears a curiously cut black jacket and a long skirt trimmed, like the uniform of a postman, with red cord.
The most striking feature of her dress is the curious cocked hat similar in many respects to that of a girl guide. This style incidentally was only introduced a year or so ago by the Government. Miss Poole used to wear a more prosaic felt model until the Government decided to introduce a little originality in fashions for Post Women.
Miss Poole carries a long ash stick and wears high laced boots. The stick is to protect her from too suspicious dogs, and the high boots are to keep out the mud and rain. Although over 50, Miss Poole is out in all weathers and has to walk several miles each day delivering her mail.
Miss Poole must have walked well over a thousand miles since she began her duties as a postwoman more than ten years ago.
There are two postmen in Etwall to assist Miss Poole in the delivery of the village’s mail.
It is known that Miss Poole lived with a sister or cousin in the far end house of Chapel Row. She was known as “ Annie” Poole.
An Audio interview with John Wickham is available in the Society Archive.