Dood has been awarded a 2021 Award for Personal Achievement in Local History by the British Association for Local History and this was awarded at the Local History Day on 12th June 2021. Congratulations !
One of the reasons that he won this award was for the many articles he wrote for the membership while there were no meetings. The last one on Newent Postal Services – see below
Newent Postal Services
Pre-paid postage came into being in 1840. Before that mail had to be paid for by the recipient. In 1770 a Post messenger was drowned in floods between Newent and Gloucester. In the 1820s letters were carried by horse mail which left Newent for Gloucester each morning at 8-00am and returned at 4-00pm. Before pre-paid postage was introduced in 1840 there were two Newent Postal stamps (fig.1).
Fig.1 One of the pre-1840 postal stamps for Newent “NEWENT 117” can just be seen.
Fig 2 A Penny Black postage stamp introduced in 1840.
Fig.3 A stamp with the Newent post mark 1905.
Thomas Hartle was the original postmaster and saw the introduction of pre-paid post. He remained in the position until 1854 (aged 89) assisted by his daughter Jane.
James Cooper Bisco took over as Postmaster on 4th February 1855 and was the first of a long line of Biscos who ran the service for over 100 years until 1983. He was primarily a cordwainer making and repairing shoes and ran the post office from his shop. Fig.4 shows a bill dated 1862 for his services but with the address as the Post Office.
Fig.4 A bill by James Cooper Bisco dated 1862
Fig.5 The first post Office at 8 Church St. in 1855.
The first Post Office was at No.8 Church Street. James Cooper Bisco married Charlotte MacDonald and when he died in 1864 she took over as Post Mistress. Then in 1880 their son James and his wife Mary Ann continued the business. When James died in 1900, Mary Ann moved to Broad Street into what is now Falcon Court, with her son Robert Harry (Fig.6). In 1918 the family moved to the Red House, opposite St Mary’s Church and this has been the Post Office ever since. It is called the Red House because it used to be covered in Virginia Creeper giving it a distinctive colour in the autumn. Mary Ann worked there all her life and died behind the counter in 1936.
Mrs Elizabeth Rogers, the daughter of James Cooper Bisco, was the first telephone operator in Newent. The telephone arrived in 1910 with the post office being number 1. Number 2 was the local doctor and number 3 was the George Hotel. She died in 1919.
Fig.6 The post office in Broad Street 1900-1918.