MEVAGISSEY POST OFFICE
An announcement in 1871 by The West Britain Newspaper told of Telegraph wires being fitted to No.11 Fore Street Mevagissey and at the same time to inform that Mr.Roberts had been appointed the new Postmaster.
No.11 Fore Street was of course the Post Office before Brick house, No.3 St.Georges Square. Mevagissey and was first taken over by Mr. W.J. Clark in the late 1920’s.
To post a letter in the early 1900’s would cost 1d (old money) and just ½d to send a postcard.
When Sir Rowland Hill, mainly through his efforts, introduced the penny post in 1840 one could hardly believe that over 60 years later it was still only 1 old penny to post a letter; did they have inflation those days?
In Mrs Roberts Post Office, apart from the Postal counter the ladies could choose and buy a new hat and the gentlemen a new pair of boots. It is almost likely that some of the boots on sale would have been made by Willy Whatty and his brother, well known handmade boot specialists at that time.
Now Willy Whatty was also a postman and served forty five faithful years service with both the old and then the new Post Offices; WilIy calculated that he walked 140,400 miles during that time. He also made a pair of large sea boots for a customer in Port Isaac and when finished was asked for them to be delivered; Willy did the delivery on his push bike.
Before the days of the introduction of Teleprinters, messages could be sent from No.11 Fore Street by Morse Code, this was a device invented by Samuel F.B.Morse and Alfred Vail in 1837 being; a series of dot and dash symbols. It is understood that a charge of 2 old pence was made to deliver a message of this nature.
In 1881 Postal Orders became available and two years later one could send a parcel by post.
When the Post Office at No.11 finally closed it is thought one half of the premises was taken by Mr. Treweeks selling leather goods, the other side by a Mr. Daniels for Fruit and Vegetables.
Let us now go around the corner to No.3 St. Georges Square, Mevagissey. From about 1909 onwards the shop portion of the premises sold Fruit, Vegetables and Confectionery, whilst the above was residential. A Mr. Barbery was responsible for the shop. It was William Vine, a farmer, from St.Ewe who then took possession of No. 3 and in December of 1929 Mr. W.J. Clark, who it is understood had the Post Office in Roche, came with his family and started the Post Office that we now see today. It could be likely that Mr. W.J. Clark came to Mevagissey before 1929 and spent time at the old Post Office, there seems to be some doubt about the exact date, if at all he ever came before 1929.
The early days of the first Postmaster at St. Georges Square were times of new methods and development. Mr. Clark was responsible for employing and paying his own staff.
With the introduction of the Teleprinter, Mevagissey Post Office being the first office in Cornwall to have one installed, Telegrams were in great demand. The three fish merchants, Messrs. Pawlyn, Robins and Edwards daily dispatched a large number of Telegrams around the country. A Telegraph Boy was also employed for deliveries locally. Also above the Post Office a small Telephone Exchange was located.
Mr. W.J.Clark served with the Post Office for 30 years. From October 1939 to November 1984 four new Postmasters have been appointed.
On the 25th March 1903 a Post Office Exchange and Call Office was opened in Mevagissey and was also connected with a trunk circuit to St.Austell, which also took in Pentewan.
Eleven telephones were in operation in Mevagissey at that time, the Call Office had the number MEVAGISSEY ONE - this telephone was available for use in the Post Office in Fore Street. The Exchange was opened daily from 8.00am - 9.00pm and on Sunday from 8.00am - l0.00am.
The introduction of the telephone from Mevagissey did of course greatly extend communications, calls then, could be made not only locally but via St.Austell to Penzance in the West, Plymouth and beyond Eastwards; a process known as step by step routing. The two Mevagissey Doctors, Messrs. Grier and Walker were connected in 1903, as was the Pawlyn Bros., M. Dunn and Sons, Fish Preservers, J. Tremayne, W. Treleaven, Banker and Cornish Sardine Co. Pentewan also had a Call Office in the Post Office.
In 1924, 39 subscribers, as they were then known, were connected. In 1959, 491 connections. With the new Telephone exchange in operation, a Unit Automatic Type 14, many more local calls could be dialled, the old Manual Exchange above the Post Office being closed.
In 1985 a Non Director Electronic Type 2 Satellite equipment was available with now about 1,500 telephones in the Mevagissey, St.Ewe, Portmellon and Pentewan areas.
Without the assistance of the Postmaster, many of our local Senior Citizens and indeed some very Senior ones, together with information from British Telecommunications Archives Centre in London this modest attempt to outline the Post Office here in Mevagissey would have failed.
Mr & Mrs Roose arrived on 26.11.1984 - since then behind a cage, together with their staff, us folk in Mevagissey have been well treated with lots of good humour, helpful service, kindness and understanding - Mr & Mrs Roose and your staff - we salute you.
Mr & Mrs Roose retired in 1999 and Mevagissey now has a new digital exchange.