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DB/42: Aberystwyth Post Office


Acc. 1405



Ref: DB/42

Reference: [GB0212] DB/42
Title: Business Records of the Aberystwyth Post Office
Date(s): 1890s-1982
Level: Fonds
Extent: 0.058m3

Archival History:
The volumes which make up the Post Office collection were found in the Post Office’s present day home on Great Darkgate Street. It was deposited in the Ceredigion Record Office by the retiring Postmaster of the Aberystwyth Post Office in early 2003. Many of the volumes were meant to be treated as waste 10-40 years after the last resignation, luckily they were either forgotten, saved by chance or deemed to have historical value worth preserving by those in charge. 

Administrative History:
A regular postal service was established in 1635 through Royal Proclamation by King Charles I. The head of this new service became known as Master of Posts, Comptroller General of the Posts or Postmaster of England.  For 150 years, this service was carried out by mounted boys who carried letters between ‘posts’, and delivered them to the local postmasters. After being delivered to the ‘post’, the letters were slowly disseminated to the people concerned either by foot or horseback. The other letters brought by the original post-boy (not meant for this post), would be given to another post-boy to carry them to the next ‘post’. 

Up until March 1690, letters to Aberystwyth were put in the Welshpool bag, later in the Montgomery bag, and distributed from there. Letters were not sent directly to Aberystwyth until 1763, when it became a distribution centre. 

Mail coaches were first used in 1784 on an experimental route between Bristol and London. The journey was cut from as long as 38 hours to 16 hours, which propelled the Chancellor of Exchequer, William Pitt, to authorise more mail coach routes. However, these mail coaches did not arrive in Aberystwyth until after 1800. W.J. Lewis wrote that by 1807 the mail came to Aberystwyth from four different directions This meant that there were two rates to London of 10d. and 11d. according to whether the Rhayader or the Machynlleth, Newtown route was used.  These mail coach services to Aberystwyth lasted well into the second half of the 19th century, until they were replaced by train services.

In 1835, letters from London and the West arrived at Market-Street Post Office every morning (except Tuesday) at four, and were then despatched every evening (except Friday) at five. Letters from North Wales arrived every morning at three, and were despatched every evening at five. Letters from South Wales arrived every afternoon at half-past four and were despatched every morning at nine. 

Development of railways led to the demise of the mail coaches, with railways first carrying mail on 11 November 1830 between Liverpool and Manchester.  Aberystwyth was not connected by railway until 1864 with the development of the Cambrian line and further more in 1867 with the Manchester and Milford Railway.  By 1912, the mail train from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth brought most of the letters to the region.  A sorting clerk was sent on each of these trains to sort the letters on the journey back to Aberystwyth, where it arrived at 6:30am.  The bags were then transferred into the handcarts and taken by the postmen to the Post Office for redistribution. The introduction of the automobile in the 20th century greatly reduced the time taken to deliver the post to the large area Aberystwyth Post Office covered.

According to W.J. Lewis, the site of the Post Office in Aberystwyth has moved several times since its opening in the 1810s (or earlier) at Britannia Court, a cluster of houses behind the present post office in Great Darkgate Street. The Post Office was then moved to a little shop at 14 New Street several years later, opposite what is now the Pentecostal Church. A John Wood map of Aberystwyth drawn in 1834, suggests that there was a second Post Office at Market Street, and is listed in the 1835 South Wales Piggot & co. Trade Directory. Nevertheless, this establishment does not appear in any of the Post Office collection which suggests that it was no longer in existence by the late 19th century.  In 1880, the Post Office was provided with a larger site in Terrace Road, by John James of the London and Provincial Stores, and would have been situated to the modern day Barclays Bank. It was finally relocated in 1906, to its present day home in Great Darkgate Stree. W.J. Lewis wrote that this building was built under the direction of Daniel Thomas, a draper in Eastgate, who ordered the demolition of two old style single story houses to make room to accommodate his design.

In 1870, the General Post Office was given a monopoly of running the telegraph (and later the telecommunications) service. This meant that Post Offices throughout the country were being set up for people to be able to send and receive telegraphs. By 1900, according to the Aberystwyth Postmasters Establishment Books, there were around 10 established telegraphists working from the first floor of the Post Office in Great Darkgate Street and many more unestablished telegraph messengers who would relay the messages. 

The Postmaster of Aberystwyth acted as a deputy to the Postmaster General for the region.  Sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses looked after the sub-offices and reported to the Postmaster of Aberystwyth. They were often not employed directly by the Post Office, but used the position in conjunction with a store or shop they ran providing postal services. 

The Aberystwyth Head Post Office and its sub-offices covered most of mid-Cardiganshire. By 1868, Aberystwyth Post Office had 11 sub-offices within this region (Post Master/Mistress listed beside):

Aberystwyth, New Street, John Cox
Capel Bangor, Richard Blackwell
Bow Street, Humphrey Williams
Crosswood, John Jones
Devil’s Bridge, John John
Goginan, Griffith Williams
Llanbadarn, Edward Williams
Llanilar, John James
Ponterwyd, Jane Stevens
Pontrhydygroes, Charles Morgan
Rhydyfelin, Ann Pugh
Talybont, John Owen

The area covered was enlarged as far south as Llanddewi Aberarth to Tregaron by the end of the 19th century. The other sub-offices listed in the Establishment Books DB/42/11 and DB/42/22 include: Aberarth, Bethania, Blaenpennal, Bronant, Cross Inn, Cwmystwyth, Cwmsymlog, Derry Ormond, Llanafan, Llanddewi Brefi, Llanfarian, Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, Llangeitho, Llangwyryfon, Llangybi, Llanio Road, Llanon, Llanrhystud, New Cross, Pennant, Penuwch, Penparcau, Pontrhydfendigaid, Swyddffynnon, Tregaron, Ystrad Meurig.

A significant portion of the Post Office collection derives from the ‘Establishment Books’ of the Head Postmaster of Aberystwyth Post Office. These large books contain basic information about established and unestablished Post Office employees at a given time. The information included in these books changes over the 70 or so years they cover, however they generally include an employee’s name, date of birth, their rank or location, date of appointment and yearly salary (or weekly wage).

The Post Office Act of 1969 meant the General Post Office ceased to be a branch of the government and became instead a public corporation. Telecommunications and post were then split into two separate divisions, the former later privatised as British Telecom in 1984. The office of Postmaster General was discontinued and the Post Office, as it was now known, was headed by a Chairman and Chief Executive/Deputy Chairman. This role was directly appointed by the Post Office Board. The majority of the collection predates this change; however, DB/42/19 contains financial records for Aberystwyth Post Office during this transition.


Archivist’s Note: This introduction to the collection was compiled by the cataloguer using the collection itself and the following sources:

Lewis, W.J., Born on a Perilous Rock: Aberystwyth Past and Present. Cambrian News (Aberystwyth) Ltd. 1980.
Holden, J.S., The Manchester & Milford Railway. The Oakwood Press 2007
Slater’s Royal National Commercial Directory, 1868.
Piggot & Co South Trade Directory, 1835.


Scope and Content:

Reference: DB/42/1
Title: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s Records of Absence
Date(s): 1902-1915
Extent: 1 volume (4 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Lists name, and rank of person absent. Gives dates of absence, the cause of absence and any observations the Head Postmaster had concerning the absence. Index of absent staff at Aberystwyth and sub-offices is also provided.

Attached is a letter from F.E. Adams with reference to sick leave, dated 5 December 1910 and a seniority list for holidays. Loose within are annual leave timetables, a blank abbreviated address for telegrams and letter to the Postmaster of Ystrad Meurig about Margaret Jenkins taking her bank holiday leave (dated 5 February 1915).


Reference: DB/42/2
Title: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s Records of Absence
Date(s): 1915-1935
Extent: 1 volume (2 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Lists name, rank and date of appointment of person absent. Gives dates of absence, the cause of absence and any observations the Head Postmaster had concerning the absence.

Extracts of new legislation ‘leave for first year of service’ - agreement made in 1925 which allows officers appointed before 1906 to take leave due in respect of their first year of service in advance of their last year of service – and officers from region appointed before 1906. Index of absent staff at Aberystwyth and sub-offices is also provided.


Reference: DB/42/3
Title: Parliamentary Committee Revision 1908
Date(s): 14 February 1908-15 September 1908
Extent: 5 items
Level: item
Scope and Content: Letter to the Postmaster General concerned with trip allowances to certain classes of officers, dated 27 May 1908. Four Post Office Circular papers reporting on the Parliamentary Committee Revision, dated 14 February 1908, 29 June 1908, 8 July 1908 and 15 September 1908.
Associated Material: Two of the Post Office Circular papers on Parliamentary Committee Revision 1908, dated 14 February and 8 July 1908 were moved from DB/42/23 to DB/42/3. 
See DB/42/6 for information on how this reform affected Aberystwyth and sub-office postmen.


Reference: DB/42/4
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): 1900s
Extent: 1 volume (2 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Postal allowances, increments, particulars of revision, life insurance deductions from wages, costs of passenger car trips and particulars of the payments to army and navy pensioners employed at the Post Office are recorded. Information from the appointment section generally gave the employees name, date of birth, rank, location, yearly salary (or weekly wage), dates of increments, previous employment in the Post Office, and the dates on which these situations changed. Sub-offices are listed, with details of the sub-Postmasters. After this, are names and home addresses of postal workers who are licensed to sell stamps and which sub-office they are certified to sell them at.

Loose within is a hand-written letter to Mr. Williams the Head Postmaster of Aberystwyth, from surveyor concerning increments in efficiency, dated 29 February 1908. 


Reference: DB/42/5
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): 1930s-1946.
Extent: 1 volume (1 p., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmasters staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Positions authorised at Aberystwyth and sub-offices are listed. These give number and description of appointment or allowances, dates of commencement, and pay, scale or amount of allowances given. Names of medical officers and persons licensed to sell stamps are recorded.

A loose blank contents sheet is within and appears to have fallen out of another ‘Establishment book’. 


Reference: DB/42/6
Title: Staff: Stanley Revision of 1905 & Parliamentary Committee Revision 1908
Date(s): 1905-1908
Extent: 1 item (38 ff., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Lists postmen in Aberystwyth affected by the revision of wages of 1 April 1905, giving information such as present pay and proposed pay. In conjunction with this is a letter from the Comptroller and Accountant General Charles King of the GPO to the Postmaster of Aberystwyth outlining the present and proposed changes. Other correspondence concerning the proposed wage revision of 1905 is attached. Form 94, relating to official conduct of employees, are also linked to these pages. The GPO asked the Postmaster of Aberystwyth on March 24 1905 to bring them up to date in connection with the Stanley Revision (Revision of 1 April 1905).

Correspondence and form 94 relating to the adjustment of learners pay 1 January 1906 for Aberystwyth Post Office learners. Attached to these is a Q&A sheet respecting the pay of learners.

Material relating to the 1908 wage revision is also within, containing instructions that were given to Postmasters relating to adjustments of pay from the 1 of January 1908 onwards. Names of full duty officers (established or unestablished) other than assistants affected by the schedule of adjustments of pay under the Parliamentary Committee Revision of 1 January 1908 for Aberystwyth Head Office and sub-officers. 

Also contains staff information from Aberystwyth Head Post Office and sub-offices from the early 1900s. Much of this information is normally found in an Establishment Book. 
Associated Material: Further commentary (at a national level) for the Parliamentary Committee Revision of 1908, can be found in DB/42/3.
See DB/42/4; DB/42/7; DB/42/11 for more information on staff during the early 1900s.


Reference: DB/42/7
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): 1900s
Extent: 1 volume (7 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Allowances, increments, particulars of revision, and costs of mail carts to various destinations in the region are given. The appointment section for typically gives information on the name of the employee, date of birth, rank, location, date of civil service certificate, yearly salary (or weekly wage), initial wages on entering class, dates of increments, date of appointment or promotion and penalty or bond notes. Particulars for telegraph messengers also contain date of leaving and cause of leaving. Index of absent staff at Aberystwyth and sub-offices is provided.

A letter sent to the Postmaster of Aberystwyth titled ‘Vacancies for established postmen – Method of filling’, dated 30 October 1903, is attached to the inside cover. Next to this is a semi-blank terms of employment form for ‘Unestablished force (army, navy and police pensioners) - Employed on full time duties’, dated 26 November 1903. An extract from Postmaster leaflet No. 164 concerning instructions for bag openers, despatching officers, officers dealing with registered letters and supervising officers, has been signed by various postal officers (both on the leaflet and attached note paper). 


Reference: DB/42/8
Title: R.225-7 and P2299W forms
Date(s): 5 March 1949-7 May 1954
Extent: 12 ff., loose
Level: item
Scope and Content: Bundle of forms R.225-7 Establishment Records: scale payment offices. This is headed by a letter sent from Cardiff Finance Branch to the Head Postmaster of Aberystwyth asking for this information, dated 5 March 1949.
Also loose within are two P2299W forms, postal documents relating to balance of staff on Sunday for Aberystwyth and sub-offices and an attached annotated paper discussing these P2299W forms.
Associated Material: These records are related to information and are within the same timeframe as DB/42/9, it is likely that they were taken out of DB/42/9 at one point.
DB/42/26 taken from this file.


Reference: DB/42/9
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): 1948-1957
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmasters staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Positions authorized at Aberystwyth office and sub-offices are listed. These give number and description of appointment or allowances, dates of commencement, and pay, scale or amount of allowances given.  Names of medical officers are recorded.
Associated Material: Contains material associated with DB/42/8, it is likely that the loose sheets from DB/42/8 were taken out of DB/42/9 at one point.


Reference: DB/42/10
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): November 1957-1963
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmasters staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. The records show number and description of appointment or allowances; dates of commencement; and pay, scale or amount of allowances given. An index of staff at Aberystwyth and sub-offices is also provided. Hours of business at Aberystwyth branch are specified, and records of motor garage rentals at sub-offices are made on p.72.


Reference: DB/42/11
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): 1890s-1900s
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmasters staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Details of allowances, increments are given for Aberystwyth Post Office and sub-offices. Information in the appointments section usually includes the employees name, their department or location, date of first employment, yearly salary (or weekly wage), date of birth and cause of leaving.


Reference: DB/42/12
Title: Staff: Post Office forms
Date(s): 
Extent: 7 pp., loose
Level: item
Scope and Content: Contains various postal forms that would have been used at Aberystwyth Post Office. Blank P 196W form – postal or money orders; blank P.618W form – ex-service men appointed to permanent Post Office situations; blank P 226W form; P 147W - sick absence form for M.E.G. Thomas from Aberystwyth office; blank P 876W form; and returns and special duties due to attended to monthly.


Reference: DB/42/13
Title: Diary of Increment Dates, Returns, Reports, etc. P. 1058
Date(s): 1940s
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: A record and reminder from year to year of the dates on which increments, maximum pay reports, sub-office surveys and salary revisions, periodical and special returns and reports (whether they relate to the work of the office or to individual officers) and infrequent duties – such as inspection of fire appliances and uniform, the cleaning of telephone cabinets on station premises, etc. – fall due.


Reference: DB/42/14
Title: Maintenance Expenditure at Aberystwyth Head Office
Date(s): 30 September 1938-31 March 1942
Extent: 1 Volume (7 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Records of maintenance expenditure at Aberystwyth Post Office. 

Loose within is a letter from the Staff Controller, Buildings Branch Shrewsbury, to the Head Postmaster in Aberystwyth, regarding the suspension of form P 1148W until further notice; dated 3 January, 1939. Also contains a note, dated 22 June 1940, and several P 238B forms relating to ‘expenses named in connection with defence measures’.


Reference: DB/42/15
Title: Union of Post Office Workers: Wage Claim and Evidence 1926-1927
Date(s): January 1927
Extent: 1 volume (1 p., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: A British Post Office report made by the Union of Post Office Workers containing details of: wages for various postal employees (from London Inner/Outer and ‘Provinces’), post office organisation, history of claim, general argument, standard of living, classification of offices, revised claim for women, analysis of Post Office counter claim and grade claims. The terms of reference to the Industrial Court, is that the scales of pay, excluding cost-of-living bonus, of the Post Office Manipulative Classes shall be revised. This report was submitted by the Union of Post Office Workers to the Industrial Court (Civil Service) on behalf of the Post Office Manipulative Classes on 10 January 1927


Reference: DB/42/16
Title: Postage Stamp of King George VI
Date(s): 1937-1940
Extent: 1 item
Level: item
Scope and Content: Postage stamp revenue ½ D of King George VI. Green.


Reference: DB/42/17
Title: Machynlleth Head Post Office (Montgomeryshire) Fines and Gains Record
Date(s): 11 February 1938-24 February 1966
Extent: 1 volume (11 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Machynlleth Head Post Office (Montgomeryshire) fines and gains record. Loose within is a bundle of fines and gains fund account records from 1959-1966. Also within, is a letter from the Post Office Headquarters Wales and Border Counties, to the Head Postmaster of Machynlleth concerning ‘Fines and Gains Fund’ (dated 18 October 1963).


Reference: DB/42/18
Title: Office Whitley Committee Minute Book
Date(s): 30 March 1950-10 March 1967
Extent: 1 volume (12 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Post Office Whitley Committee. Members of the official side (employers) and staff side (selected by the trade unions) are specified. They discuss recruitment and redundancies, appraisals, office working practices, legal matters, and conditions at work etc. Minutes are handwritten into book from 30 March 1950 to 14 June 1951. After this typed minutes are glued into the book.

Loose within are handwritten minutes from an emergency Local Whitley Committee meeting held on 2 December 1958, and handwritten agenda for another meeting (undated). Also within, were three Local Whitley Committee letters specifying upcoming meetings,  and  a schedule of points raised by staff side in connection with postal ‘package proposals’ from the meeting on 24 September 1957.
Associated Material: DB/42/25 originally found loose within committee book. 


Reference: DB/42/19
Title: Head Postmaster Aberystwyth Local Distress Fund
Date(s): 14 February 1951-31 January 1982
Extent: 1 volume (1 p., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Counter gains, losses and fines from 1951-1954. Glued into several pages is ‘statement of accounts for twelve months up to 31 January’ 1952-1982. 


Reference: DB/42/20
Title: Office Whitley Committee Minute Book
Date(s): 21 March 1967-22 December 1968
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Post Office Whitley Committee. Members of the official side (employers) and staff side (selected by the trade unions) are specified. They discuss recruitment and redundancies, appraisals, office working practices, legal matters, and conditions at work etc. Typed minute pages are glued to the book.


Reference: DB/42/21
Title: Minutes and Material Relating to the Aberystwyth Head Post Office Whitley Committee
Date(s):  2 July 1954-12 September 1968
Extent: 29ff., loose
Level: item
Scope and Content: These loose documents relate to the Aberystwyth Head Post Office Whitley Committee. These include: Director’s Circular 63/67 (dated 16 October 1967), which details how a Whitley Committee meeting should be organised and executed; and proposed agenda lists for meetings held from 8 November 1967 to 12 September 1968, highlighting issues important to the Aberystwyth postmen at this time.


Reference: DB/42/22
Title: Staff: Establishment Book
Date(s): Late 1900s-Early 1920s
Extent: 1 volume (5 pp., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Details of staff employed at Aberystwyth and sub-offices, which often include the employees name, date of birth, rank, location, service (from first date of employment), weekly wages, and remarks. There are lists of allowances, particulars of revision, payments made to army and navy pensioners and army reservists employed, workers paying for life insurance scheme and persons licensed to sell stamps. This volume also provides lists of medical officers, including their private address and address of surgery and an index of staff (Aberystwyth and sub-offices) and place names of sub-offices.

Loose within are two Post Office form P. 556 - particulars of qualification and service - for Annie Fredda Evans and David Hugh Griffiths; a note stating that Borth, Bow Street and Talybont sub-offices had been transferred from Machynlleth to Aberystwyth; and proposed pay on and after 1 January 1921, for Mr. Stephen, and schedule of adjustments of pay consequent to the introduction of revised scales of pay as of 1 January 1918, for J. D. Stephens, dated June 13, 1919


Reference: DB/42/23
Title: Staff records
Date(s): 1910s-1920s
Extent: 8 items (9 ff., loose)
Level: item
Scope and Content: A selection of Post Office Circular papers from 1914 to 1920 reporting on the revisions of wages within the Post Office. The new rates of pay came into affect nationally, from the 2 February 1914, and then 1 January 1920. Postmaster form 374 is included which gives rates of extra pay at provincial offices for Post Office workers, however the date is uncertain, however suggests early 20th century.

Also within is an assortment of staff records for Aberystwyth Post Office. These include P. 556 forms (Post Office employee particulars of qualification, and service records), P. 41 forms (particulars of a recommendation for vacancy) P.470 and two P. 5 forms (statement of particulars to be given in the case of officers recommended for promotion or transfer). There is a blank P 330 specimen paper for application for superannuation or other retiring allowance.

Loose page which records names, rank and date officers took the oath of allegiance during the last quarter of 1918. Also postmen’s seniority list for Aberystwyth Post Office and sub-offices dated 2 April 1910. This document lists the names of the employees and the date of appointment to present position. Attached to this is a letter sent by F.E. Adams asking for seniority lists from all the Post Offices, dated 5 January 1910.
Associated Material: 2 Post Office Circular papers on Parliamentary Committee Revision 1908, dated 14 February and 8 July 1908 were moved from DB/42/23 to DB/42/3. 
See DB/42/24 for more information on staff records from this period. 


Reference: DB/42/24
Title: Staff: Establishment Book  
Date(s): 1910s-1920s.
Extent: 1 volume
Level: item
Scope and Content: Aberystwyth Head Postmaster’s staff records for Welsh and Border Counties region. Information on staff usually details the employees name, date of birth, date of civil service certificate, date of appointment to present, location, rank, yearly salary (or weekly wage) and remarks. Particulars of life insurance deductions from salaries and persons licensed to sell stamps are listed. This volume also provides lists of medical officers, including their private address and address of surgery.


Reference: DB/42/25
Title: Joint Production Committee Papers
Date(s): January 1954-October 1967
Extent: 14 pp., loose
Level: item
Scope and Content: Joint Production Committee Papers No. 20 (January 1954), No. 33 (September 1955), No. 71 (October 1963) and a Joint Production Committee paper supplement to the Post Office Circular of 10 October 1962.
Associated Material: Originally found in DB/42/18.


Reference: DB/42/26
Title: Good Conduct Stripes for Postmen
Date(s): 1890s-26 January 1901
Extent: 2pp, loose
Level: item
Scope and Content: Good conduct stripes for town and rural postmen in the Welsh and Border County region.
Associated Material: Taken from DB/42/8, but perhaps originally from early establishment book (DB/42/11?).
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