Post office has fascinating story

I am prompted by the brief caption to a photograph of Madam Mayor re-launching a redesigned Old Town post office branch sympathetic to the conservation area within which it lies (Eastbourne Gazette, August 10) to fill in the ‘long history’ alluded to and trust that publication of this will stem the number of enquiries I have received in the last two weeks.

There has been a post office named Old Town-Eastbourne for 127 years and Stephen D’Souza’s current premises is the fifth site that it has occupied since 1884, three locations being in Ocklynge Road and two in Star Road.

From 1858 this Office (which in 1884 was re-named ‘Old Town’) was entitled ‘Eastbourne Sub Office.’

Between 1806 and 1858, it was the main Office of the Eastbourne Letter Receiver and located approximately where the Lawns estate twitten emerges onto Ocklynge Road.

From the time it became a Sub Office and for the next 100 years it was in the hands of six members of the Payne family, but since the 1950s there have been a further four sub postmasters, the most recent of which is Stephen D’Souza, who formally took over on November 12, 2010 and whom we are today to thank for saving this important local asset from permanent closure and to congratulate him on re-modelling the premises to create a very user-friendly environment incorporating a ramp for the less agile shopper.

The Office was nearly lost to this community in October 1983 with firm intentions by the Eastbourne Head Postmaster to close it but as a result of public petition it was reprieved.

Lionel D Jones

Eastbourne’s Postal Historian

Cherry Garden Road