Thirty-Eight Years In The Post Office
When The Town Had A Sub-Office
Mr. H. Tomlin, of 8, York-road, Rushden, completed over 38 years in the service of the Post Office to-day. Mr. Tomlin entered upon his duties in the Post Office on October 20th, 1890, at Oundle, and in March, 1900, was transferred to Rushden where he has been ever since. At the time he came to Rushden the present Post Office buildings were not in existence, the staff being accommodated at 35, High-street, on the premises now occupied by Misses. Mobbs. The late Mr. C. Hewitt was then sub-postmaster, the office being only a sub-office, and the permanent outdoor staff comprised three men, one of whom walked to Wymington for his daily delivery. The telephone exchange was at that time situated at the rear of what is now Doffman’s outfitting establishment. Mails were dispatched from Wellingborough to Rushden by a horse and cart, leaving Wellingborough at about 4.30 a.m., and arriving at Rushden when the roads and the capacity of the horses permitted. In contrast to this is the present mode of dispatch by motor van which leaves Wellingborough at 5 a.m. and reaches Rushden at 5.20 a.m.
The outdoor staff delivered their letters on foot as no official bicycles were provided, and those entrusted with letters for Newton and similar villages falling within the Rushden postal area were faced with a long walk unless provided with bicycles of their own.
Mr. Tomlin has seen service under a number of different postmasters in Rushden, among whom were Mr. S. Field, who succeeded Mr. Hewitt, and was the first staff postmaster of Rushden, a post he held for some 18 years, and Mr. J. S. Keeling, who was in office here for about seven years and retired from a similar position at Sudbury, in Suffolk, last year.
The concentration of the trade of Rushden, and the rapid growth of the place in consequence, soon necessitated a larger staff both indoor and outdoor and more roomy offices. Their transference to the present site marked a further step forward, and since then the telephone exchange has been placed above the post office, while it has now been found imperative to increase the dimensions of the sorting room to cope with the ever-growing postal traffic.
Rushden formerly received its letters from Higham, and Mr. Tomlin recollects Mr. Seckington the father of Mr. H. Seckington, relate how he daily delivered the mail in Rushden and then continued to Wymington, the whole way on foot. It is also interesting to note that whereas in Rushden the transition has been from sub-office to main office the reverse has been the case at Higham Ferrers whose office once served the greater part of the district now served by Rushden.