Please feel welcome to simply introduce yourself if your new here, or if you've registered and never posted before! Sometime's it's nice to just say a 'hello' rather than get straight into posting under the relevant topics.
My name is Matt and I maintain the website and forum for Roger Green.
If you need help registering, please refer to the help section from the front page of this forum.
My name is John Lainchbury and I joined the Post Office in January 1956 as a Junior Postman. I started work at Head Post Office in Pinfold Street Birmingham delivering telegrams to all parts of the city. Other duties were at Cable and Wireless in Great Charles St then moving to West Midlands TMO in Bearwood on the Hagley Road. In 1957 I entered the Midland Region Sports Federation Angling competition at Peterbourgh on the rive Nene. To my surprise I came first in the junior section with a weight of 1lb 6ozs. I almost through my catch back in the river but was told to keep it for the weigh in. I held the cup for 12months and also received a medal which you can see you can see below. I hope this item will be of interest you. Best Wishes John.
Last Edit: Sept 3, 2010 13:46:51 GMT by Matt James
Private Telegraph Companies The Universal Private Telegraph Company. This Company owned the telegraph line from Glasgow to Helensburgh known as the West Highland Telegraph. It was taken over by the GPO in 1868.
These receipt labels wetre printed by Waterlow & Sons in 1864. The stamp on the right has an error where the end letter is “n” instead of “h”.
The London & Provincial Telegraph Company. A receipt date 12th May 1869. The majority of private Telegraph Companies were taken over by the Post Office in July 1869.
Alan Spencer has sent two interesting pieces of information:
Last day of use Telegram This telegram (below) was issued on the last day of the Telegram service, Saturday 1st October 1982 – coincidently my late fathers’ birthday.
The telegram was issued at, what was then, the main Birmingham Post Office in Victoria Square. The Counter clerk was very reluctant to issue a Telegram as they were being discontinued. It took me nearly 15 minutes for me to persuade him that I really did want to send a telegram but eventually I was successful!
Last Edit: Apr 20, 2009 18:31:53 GMT by Matt James
Following a look at your website, I wonder if you can help me or point me in the right direction.
My Grandad, Reginald (Reg) Barnfield started work at the GPO as a Telegram Boy when he was 14 yrs old in Birmingham. I know he worked for the GPO for 40 years as I have his Imperial Service Medal which was also presented in B'ham. I assume he started working at the GPO in approx 1928/9. I am led to believe he worked on the MDFs during WWII. (A MDF is a main distribution frame - BT jargon)
I have attached the only photo I have of my grandad as a telegram boy - I think the person who took it was either on a slope or was worse for wear !!! Grandad was about 14 when the photo was taken. At the other extreme I have attached photos of him receiving the ISM - I don't know who the man is who presented it to him.
I have checked with Mom and Grandad definately worked on the Telecon side - working as an exchange engineer (MDF!). He worked all over the Birmingham area - Erdington, Edgbaston, main Brum, Solihull etc etc. She believes his headquarters was in Newhall St but is not definate about that.
Mom also confirms the staunch union link but she does not recollect the 2 names you put mentioned in an earlier email. She does remember the ISM being published in the Birmingham Mail and the GPO mag at the time but I don't know if BT or PO keep records of these.
Thanks again for trying to help
Pauline Broughton (Grandaughter)
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2009 22:30:16 GMT by Matt James
A Few of my own Memories from John Dunbar Cornwall 1958-63
A few of my own personal memories of my times delivering around the Plymouth area. I recall a messenger, by the name of R Hobbs, who came back to the office, covered from head to foot in cow’s droppings. Apparently when he was overtaking a large cattle wagon, the cows decided that they would give him a souvenir to bring back and showered him through the slats of the lorry. The same rider when coming back from Saltash Cornwall, before the bridge was constructed had to catch a vehicle ferry; he managed to get his front wheel on but not his back one. So he ended up sat on his motorcycle up to his waist in the river.
We all had an accident or two; we used to say that unless you had an accident you were not a real messenger. R Menyena a good pal, decided to have an argument with a double-decker bus head on. The result was no solid food for 3 months as his jaw was wired up.
Opposite the Head Post Office was a large roundabout and we went around it was agreed among us that we had to lean over and make our leg shields catch the ground and send sparks in the air so that the bosses in the offices over looking the roundabout could see.
The Post Office annoyed the Telegram Delivery Boys, by putting lead seals on the carburettors to prevent them from exceeding the 30 mph speed limit.
Last Edit: Apr 20, 2009 18:45:15 GMT by Matt James
Hi folks! I am due to do my one many show in London on March 22 which is mothering Sunday. If you are in the area give the theatre a call and tell them you are from the post office and you can have two tickets for the price of one. The price is fifteen pounds and that means it will cost you seven fifty. I am going to put a tick on here so i will know if there have been any replies to this so you can ask me anything. It's an Irish show because that's where I originated and it tells through poetry, songs and me just chatting to the audience of the experiences of coming to live in England as a little boy and I also get the audience to sing along to songs I will teach them - well the choruses in any case. It's a fun evening and you don't have to be Irish to come along although you will be Irish by the time you leave. The show is called A BIT OF IRISH and it's at The Jermyn Street Theatre, 16B, Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JT - closest tube Piccadilly Circus. Box Office - 0207 287 2875. It starts at 7.30 and I can guarantee we will be in the pub - The Captain's Table - by about 9.00.[/
I worked as a Messenger Boy [Postman Composite] at Hanley Head Post Office in Tontine St. Hanley for just over Two years.
Joined the GPO in 1956 mainly because of an advert in the local newspaper which was advertising Messenger vacancies, at the time I was unhappy in my previous job working for a Ceramic Tile Slabbing Company making Fireplace Surrounds.
When I was interviewed by the GPO I was very pleased to find out that the pay was just over ?3.00 per week which was quite an improvement on the ?2.00 which I was previously getting, also I was able to ride a Motor Bike which is something at my young age that I really wanted to do. At the time there were eighteen Messenger Boys delivering Telegrams to all the Potteries Towns of Longton, Stoke, Fenton, Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall together with all the outlying villages surrounding the city. We served the city of Stoke on Trent which had a population of about 250,000 people.
Here are the messengers boys that I use to work with:- Peter Johnson, Pat Lynch, Peter Edwards, John Shufflebotham, Mick Beardmore, Joe Gething, Brian Hulse, Barry Akers, Keith Purton, George Lawton, Bill Turner, John Edwards, Gordon Wood, Gerald Ormsby, Graham Higgins, Derek Baskeyfield, Ken Heary and Pat Hunt. We worked a three shift pattern during the period 0800 to 2000 hours Monday to Friday and 0800 to 1800 hours on Saturdays.
When I first started I had the use of a Cycle but only delivered to the Hanley Town Centre, later I was issued with a BSA Bantam 125cc and training was given by an Instructor who followed the learner riders in his Morris Minor Van.
In the worst weather conditions Motor Bikes were taken off the road and vans were used for the Telegram Service, messenger boys would sometime accompany the Postman delivery driver or were employed on indoor work threading lead seals which was a regular practise at the Office.
During inclement weather it was very difficult to keep your hands and feet warm often two pairs of gloves and Socks were worn and the radiators were always full of clothes drying out.
On rainy days we would be absolutely drenched and although we had waterproofs it didn?t stop the rain seeping through I used to keep a spare set of clothing in my locker. The wetness also made your legs blue with the dye coming out of the rough serge uniform trousers.
Telegrams arrived by tube from the upstairs telegraph Room and the PHG in charge would list and sort them and then instruct the messengers which area they were going to deliver. The system was quite fair as it gave everyone an equal amount of journeys unless you had an individual who was slow of course.
Our PHGs in charge were great we had Bill Lear who was a real Gentleman and Ernest Cook an ex soldier who was firm yet very fair in his job. I had great admiration for both of them.
There were quite a few traffic accidents and I can remember several Motor Bikes being wrote off. My first accident was just below Basford Bank at Etruria, I had just gone over a humpback railway bridge and a car had stopped to let an ambulance through to a side road. Needless to say I was going too fast and I hit the rear bumper and went straight over the car landing on the bonnet. The driver seemed amazed as he sat there watching me, the ambulance stopped and took me straight to hospital, shaken but not hurt I was duly discharged the Motor Cycle however was a complete write off. Needless to say I was given a Blameworthy verdict.
Some of the messengers were fanatical about their Motor Bikes and tried to increase the appearance and speed of their machines. Often the baffles were taken out of the silencers to give a louder noise and experiments with carburettors often occurred trying to adjust the regulatory needles to increase the speed. I am not sure if these sort of actions were beneficial or not but the mechanics were not very happy about the messengers doing this sort of thing.
Most of the messengers use to be issued with the dreaded P18b. [ Disciplinary Form ] This was given for the simplest of irregularities which always started with ? Please Explain Why? the messengers would often get together to try and find the most suitable answer for the reply. Obviously the supervisory staff was well aware of these practises but the messengers always tried to stick together as there was a sort of camaraderie between us.
In between delivering Telegrams we would play darts and a few of us were very good players. We never seem to miss the treble twenty with three darts, it just goes to show practise makes perfect, the amount of time we spent throwing darts would sometimes be three hours a day especially on slack days.
It was quite an experience some days when delivering to large firms where there is a large amount of women. Once whilst delivering a telegram to the Simplex company I had to walk through a factory floor to the manager?s office where about two hundred women were employed I was wolf whistled and shouted at by the woman I was worried to death that they were going to get me and a few of them actually chased me out of the building. I use to get the same sort of treatment at a few of the Pottery firms.
We use to get plenty of tips especially when delivering telegrams to weddings or party celebrations, according to the rules/regulations we should not accept them but these tips were often thrust into your hand.
Every week all Messengers had to attend educational classes for one day at the Wedgwood Institute Art College in Burslem. From what I can remember we had a variety of subjects Art and Crafts, English, Maths and Geography. I could never understand why these Day Releases or Subjects were compulsory for us especially as we had only just left school. We enjoyed the day off from work and often met up with all the girls from the Telephone Exchanges who were also on Day Release from Vale and Trinity Exchanges.
Met my wife through the Wedgwood College and we did our lessons together I was 16 and she was only 15, at the time she worked at the Trinity Telephone Exchange as a Telephonist.
Towards the end of my Messenger service I was given trial Postman duties at the main sorting office at Leek road Stoke this was to get the experience for when I reached 18 when I would be transferred to adult duties.
I was subjected to the most difficult delivery duties by the Inspectors often carrying heavy loads of Totes [Football Pool Coupons] or doing double Delivery walks on second delivery.
I really enjoyed my messenger service and in 1959 I was called up for National Service where I was posted to Herford in Germany BFPO 15 for two years and guess what! another two years on Motor Bikes as a Despatch Rider delivering messages and leading convoys with the Royal Corp of Signals.
The only problem was the Motor Bikes we were issued with had no suspension which was a bit uncomfortable to say the least. Finally completed my Royal Mail service in 1991 after 34 years through ill health.
Good Morning. I saw the BBC news last night and mention of the Telegram Boy. I was a wag from 1949 to 1952. I have searched your website but could not connect any of the faces with my years as a messenger boy. Perhaps they also had no knowledge of the reunuion or due to age have now passed on. I worked at Head office (birmingham) first and then went to Moseley PO and sometimes at Sparkhill. I then worked at Selly Oak on the Motor bikes. We had Bantams but I was better off because I rode the better 250cc bike. It was governed but not very often ( only when the mechanics came to service the bike ). Photograph enclosed ( taken at Selly oak ). All the best with future events.
Hi. Ralph, my name is Ted Hedges, you don't know me but seeing your message brought back memories of my Messenger days at Lanark Road B.O. W9,it was a little before your time -1947- but there was always some angst with the Spring Street boys and every so often we would invade in numbers and let down tyres of any bikes left out. regards Ted--