The picture shows The Old Post Office from the outside
The Post Office - Origins
The General Post Office (GPO) was set up in 1660 by Charles II and extended its remit from England & Wales into Great Britain in 1707 and finally to the United Kingdom from 1800 until 1969, which then transferred all the assets to The Post Office.
Initially it was the recipient of the post who paid the fee, and he had the right to refuse to accept the item if he did not wish to pay. The charge was based on the distance the item had been carried so the GPO had to keep a separate account for each item.
In 1840 the Uniform Penny Post was introduced, which incorporated the two key innovations of a uniform postal rate, which cut administrative costs and encouraged use of the system, and the adhesive pre-paid stamp. Shortly after the introduction of the Uniform Penny Post, the volume of post increased significantly as it brought this service within the reach of many more people - Our current system was born.
Lanchester Post Office
The first Post Office in Lanchester was run by Frederick Laycock from around 1850's which he doubled up as also being a schoolmaster. It was located in Station Road, next to the Railway Station where the trains brought the post from Durham.
In 1879 the Sub-postmistress was Mrs. Ann Cummings, who ran the business until 1902, when George Buckham succeeded her until 1912 in the original business premises.
We understand that when Mrs. Eleanor Telford Dickenson took over the business in 1912 that the move to No 39 Front Street took place, where it remained until Mr Robert Dick became the Postmaster in 1922. We believe that in 1928 Mr Dick moved the Post Office into No 27 and the Graham's took over No 39 as a General Dealers.
No 27 Front Street had been built for Sarah and Mary Brown in 1788 as their home and was used as a domestic dwelling until the conversion into the new Post Office. In 1975 the building was awarded Grade 11 Listed Building status.
Robert Dick remained the Postmaster until 1961, a 49 year tenure.. Mrs. & Mr Wheatley ran the business from the same premises for 19 years until 1980. Following them, Joyce and Barry Lawson ran it for a further 22 years until 2002 when Keith & Pauline Gill took over.
Pauline ran the business for 6 years until it was sold on to Tony and Gillian Morley who combined it with their Newspaper Shop at 12 Front Street, the current location.
No 27 Front Street had housed a Post Office for 80 years before the business moved on and that is why it is called 'The Old Post Office, Lanchester'
Keith and Pauline converted The Old Post Office back into domestic use for their large family of, now, adults during 2009, added en-suites to two further rooms.
By Sept 2013 the family had all 'flown the nest' leaving Keith and Pauline with a substantial home and large gardens for just the two of them and the occasional family visitation.
The classic situation had evolved on whether to 'downsize' to somewhere else OR do something different - The Old Post Office, Lanchester Luxury Bed and Breakfast was born as a concept in April 2014.
We took our first guests in on Mid-Summer Day 2014 and so the first phase of the new journey began.