TODAY’S look at town history features the old Post Office which stands at the corner of London Road and Queen’s Road, and is now used as a sorting office.
A Grade II listed building, it was designed by Architect Henry Tanner, and subject to alterations and additions in 1926.
It was opened in 1896 by the Duke of Norfolk whose sister Lady Phillipa Stewart lived in the town.
Earlier in the century, Sundays were much like any other day of the week, but in 1846 there had been “an agitation set afoot in the town” and as a result the Postmaster-General had acceded to a “very numerously-signed” petition which allowed the East Grinstead office to be closed from 10am to 5pm.
Four years later, all Post Offices were entirely closed on Sundays by order of Parliament.
The first telegrams were received in East Grinstead on 21 September, 1870, and the first halfpenny postage operated on 1 October of the same year.
The Post Office was originally at W H Dixon’s shop in the High Street, at the corner now occupied by Lloyds Bank, before it moved to its present location in London Road.
It was officially opened by the Duke of Norfolk, then Postmaster-General, on 16 September, 1896, who was entertained to “a banquet” by way of celebration.
The day is recorded as being one of “public festivities” and Miss Head, daughter of Mr. Evelyn A Head, the then Chairman of the Urban Council, had the honour of posting the first letter at the new premises.
Photos: Roy Henderson
Above right: a cutting recording the opening, supplied by Simon Kerr, the Town Promotions Manager