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Roxton Post Offices

Ivy Cottage - 20 High Street March 2010
Ivy Cottage - 20 High Street March 2010

Directories first reveal a post office in Roxton in 1847, when the postmistress was Mary Barringer. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inches to the mile map of 1884 shows the post office at the property today known as 20 High Street. By the second edition of 1901 the Post Office had moved to today’s 35 High Street. Annotations made at some date after 1927 on the 1901 map point to a new building, 14 Park Road, as the post office .

Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from the mid 19th to the mid 20th centuries. From these it is possible to see who the postmasters and postmistresses were. Naturally, the dates below are not beginning and end dates of their stays but simply the first and last dates they are noted in directories: 

1847-1862: Mary Barringer;
1864-1869: Hugh Bentley, grocer;
1877-1894: Joseph Brimley, builder;
1898: William Howard Ekins;
1903-1924: Charles Edward Ekins;
1931-1936: Arthur J. Willmott.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the property which had been the first known post office in Roxton, 20 High Street [DV1/H13/14] found it owned and occupied by J. King and part of a farm of 43 acres. He commented: “Poor House two thatched buildings” The house comprised a parlour, a living room, a kitchen, a pantry, three bedrooms and a small room. The homestead comprised a cart shed; a stable for two horses; a chaff house; a loose box; an open hovel; a barn partly used as a loose box; a hen house; two loose boxes (“small”); a barn; a granary; a two bay open hovel; a cow house for five beasts; a trap house; a hay stable ad two implement sheds – all weather-boarded and thatched or weather-boarded and slated.

The post office may have moved to 35 High Street between 1894 when builder Joseph Brimley is last listed and postmaster and 1898, the first listing for a member of the Ekins family, in this case William Howard Ekins. In 1927 the valuer visiting 35 High Street [DV1/C198/62] found that it was still the post office, owned and occupied by Charles Edward Ekins. Accommodation comprised a living room, parlour and kitchen with three bedrooms above. The shop measured 15 feet by 12 feet. The valuer described the premises as “plaster and tiled old cottage used as warehouse”. Outside stood a weather-boarded and thatched wood shed, barn and washhouse along with a weather-boarded and tiled barn.

Roxton Post Office about 1920 [Z1130/67]
Roxton Post Office about 1920 [Z1130/67]