For many years the post office was in the Reading Room and is shown as being there in the 1926 map.
The old post office in 1920:
Johnny Mansfield and his donkey cart:
Miss Bowyer, postmistress after the war and into the 1950s, was a real gentlewoman. She continued to live in the cottage after the post office moved:
Christine Tilley was the village’s postmistress for 33 years, finally retiring in 2017, when the Post Office closed.
In this cutting from the Evening News she talked about her work (click on the image to see a larger version that is legible):
In January 1993 the post office was raided. Here’s the story from the Newmarket Journal (click on the image to see a larger version that is legible):
Here is Christine with the last Christmas stamps she would ever sell:
From an interview with Christine published in Challenge:
Your last day will be on 20th December, how do you feel? I think I’m doing the right thing, because if I didn’t do it now, I’d go on and on and on.
Why did you start running the PO? By accident! We were looking for somewhere to live, we came to look at the bungalow and the keys were next door. She said come and have a cup of tea and there was all this paperwork all over the floor and she said ‘I hate doing this job’. I said ‘it looks good to me’ and they agreed I could run it there. So I walked backwards and forwards for a year while this was being built in front of our bungalow. When we started it was just greetings cards and the Post Office, and we just started adding stuff as people asked for it. Something that might surprise people, up until about 1998 I had an air raid siren here that I would have to test regularly, and had to sound it if there was a four minute warning. Unfortunately the Home Office would not let me keep it.
Who have been your most regular customers? The OAPs, coming in to have a chat, and chat to each other, it was like an hour out for them.
What have been the best things about running the PO? Meeting all sorts of folks, they kind of grow up with you, from kids and years go by and they’re still around, it’s lovely really.
What about the postmen? They’ve all been brilliant, lovely. They’re ever so helpful, they’ll go out of their way to pop something else in someone’s door.
Anything you haven’t liked? Only the dark evenings when we used to do full days.
There were burglaries here in the 1990s, did you think about those after? No, I just moved on, because I thought if I worry about it, I’m gonna be really stressed out.
Are you going to have a closing down sale? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a BOGOF?
You’ve been described as a fixture and certainly are at the heart of our community, the village will miss you – what will you miss? The whole lot, because doing it for so long, it’s just a way of life really.
Plans for your retirement? None at all, at the moment stay put, as long as I do something, I mustn’t just vegetate…longer walks with the dog and a bit more gardening.
Any message to your customers? I’m gonna miss them all so much, and thank them all for being here for me. Hoping with a new start and fresh ideas the Post Office
will carry on in the village, and I am sure it will work.
Any message to someone taking on the PO? If they enjoy it as much I have, they’ll do brilliant!