NOSTALGIA: Eastbourne town centre Post Office is on the move

An artist's impression of the Post Office was published in the Herald pn Saturday, January 21, 1950
An artist's impression of the Post Office was published in the Herald pn Saturday, January 21, 1950

This is the history of the last Crown Post Office building in Eastbourne – commonly referred to as Langney Road Post Office but officially named Eastbourne Terminus Road, writes Lionel Jones.

On March 1 1884 a town sub post office officially named Terminus Road post office was opened within wine merchants’ premises opposite the railway station at then number 122 Terminus Road.

A telegraph facility was added in 1891.

With the move of the GPO in 1912 to the Upperton Road site, there was no justification for this town sub office remaining with less than 100 yards between it and the main post office.

Consequently, a site was found at 39 Terminus Road, opposite today’s Debenhams department store.

This location near the junction of Terminus and Langney Road was part of the site upon which the Terminus Road branch Post Office of today is to be located until transfer on February 23 2017 to what is called a “hosted” situation within the WHSmith store at 110 Terminus Road.

When first a post office, number 39 Terminus Road had residential accommodation for the sub postmistress who also sold stationery from the premises.

In 1924 these premises were re-numbered 41.

The premises were upgraded from town sub office to branch post office in 1928 and the selling of stationery was required to cease.

In the following year, the Crown purchased the site.

Modernisation took place in 1931 and to enable this work, a temporary branch post office was operated from No 7B Bolton Road.

The post office at number 41 reopened about a year later but at 11.45am on December 18 1942, was completely destroyed by one of four H E World War Two bombs which were dropped in close proximity.

Although the post office staff suffered no fatalities, another in this group of four bombs killed 18 and injured 36 Christmas shoppers in the adjacent Marks & Spencer store.

By 3pm the same day all post office business was transferred to the head post office in Upperton Road and the bombed area of Terminus Road, was placed out-of-bounds to the public until 1pm December 22 1942.

In October 1943 a temporary branch post office was opened about half way between Seaside Road and Pevensey Road.

In November 1947 the Crown acquired number 43 Terminus Road and on the combined 41-43 site Messrs Llewellyn built the branch post office which opened on April 7 1952 as 143-145 Terminus Road due to renumbering. The temporary office closed.

The dedicated post office branch which remains until close of business February 22 appears almost as it did 65 years ago following rebuilding, but to what purpose will it now be put and will you be satisfied with a post office main branch at the rear of WHSmith?

It was in September last year that the Post Office revealed it would be closing Terminus Road and moving to within WHSmith.

Roger Gale, general manager of the Post Office Crown Network, said, “Our customers will be offered the same range of services in a new dedicated Post Office area within the WHSmith store.

“Our collaboration with WHSmith helps secure the long-term viability of services for local customers. We are committed to keeping our services on the high street which we know is hugely important to people. This proposal means we can continue to do that, into the future. We are making sure we take the right course of action to sustain services for years to come.

The new Post Office branch is expected to have five serving positions, a mixture of one screened and four open-plan counters plus three self-service kiosks.