Telegrams boy delivered to caravans

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Seeing the photograph and article relating to the refurbishment of Filey Post Office brought back some memories for me. I started my working life at Filey Post Office as a telegram boy in 1954 delivering telegrams on a big and heavy GPO bicycle as far afield as Muston, Gristhorpe and Lebberston and also to Hunmanby and Reighton on early closing days in those two villages.

This involved delivering telegrams to the various cliff top caravan sites including Crows Nest, Flower of May and what is now the Blue Dolphin and not only to the sites but to individual caravans. On occasions there were several trips a day to the same caravan to deliver greetings telegrams.

Mr JC Robins was the postmaster at Filey and some of the names of the postmen come to mind. Bill Burr who was a Postman Higher Grade, Frank Milner, Jack Golder, Barry Fletcher, Stan Williams, Charlie Sutcliffe, ? Stephenson, the counter staff (postal and telegraph officers) included Esther Godfrey, June Kelly, Tony Graham, Brenda Deighton and her sister Eileen.

The sorting office had a distinctive smell about it which I suppose was the combined smell of the dust from the parcel and letter sacks which had no doubt been dumped on railway station platforms throughout the UK and the liberal use of polish used by the cleaners together with the smoke from cigarettes. The floor throughout the back was made of parquet wooden blocks which I suspect received a regular polish. Those blocks were taken up sometime during 1956/1958 and were given to staff for firewood! I was in the Army at the time and my parents were sent a barrow load.

I recall a new safe being delivered and it was installed in the room immediately behind the counter with a window facing on to Murray Street. Following delivery, but prior to the safe being properly secured, a few of us were in the room, along with Mr Robins who was anxious to show us his new acquisition when he opened the safe door and the next we knew it came toppling down with a crash. The occupants of the room dived out of the way and fortunately no one was hurt though it could have caused serious injury if someone had been in the way. The safe as I recall was tall and slender and when it fell it left a scar on the wooden block flooring in that room. At that time there were two deliveries a day, the first usually being finished by 9am and the second delivery was done by two postmen/women who covered the whole of Filey!

During the wakes weeks holidays from Filey, Butlin’s Camp and the caravan sites there were thousands of postcards posted each day and we used to stand at the sorting frames for hours sorting nothing but picture postcards. The sorting frames changed as the destinations changed for the West Riding cities and towns.

When I returned to the Post Office after completing my National Service with the Royal Engineers (Postal Section) in London I did so as a postal and telegraph officer at Scarborough and from time to time I went back to Filey as a relief postmaster substituting for holidays and sickness. I left the GPO in 1968 for fields a new.

Some of this may be of interest to your readers I suppose.

Keith D Taylor JP (retired to the supplemental list)

Dreaken Fold

West Ayton