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246a Bath Road (formerly Moorend Post Office)
The Walkley family ran the Moorend Post Office for over 60 years. James Thomas Walkley was born in Stroud in about 1855 and joined Cheltenham Post Office as a postman in 1870, at the age of 15. He married Alice, who was 8 years his junior and who was born in Cheltenham and they went on to have 3 daughters and 4 sons. In addition to his postman duties James established his own business in May 1885, as the sub-postmaster at Moorend Post Office. Apart from the normal range of post office business the shop also sold books.
In 1887 it was reported that the Leckhampton Local Board (effectively the parish council) had made an application to have telegraphic communication extended to the Moorend Post Office. After some difficulty in obtaining permission to run the wires over private property, and a delay of about two years, a route was chosen from the bridge over the Cheltenham to Banbury railway line, along the Shurdington Road.
James retired from Cheltenham Post Office in 1914 and devoted his time to his own post office. In the summer of 1915 he was presented by the G.P.O. with the Imperial Service Medal in recognition of 45 years “meritorious and unblemished service as a postman”. Not long after their youngest son Arthur, only just out of his teens, took over the business, although it stayed in his father’s name for a while. Arthur and his wife Iris lived over the post office with their two sons, Trevor and John. James Thomas Walkley died on 16th August 1934.
The post office was for some time also a coal merchant’s office. It was first the office of Stevens & Co. but by 1937 it had become Weller and Walkley. Most homes were heated by coal in those days and there were a great many coal yards throughout the town.
A few readers may remember the coal fire in the post office burning in the grate behind the counter and at least the post office clerks kept warm in winter. The fire brightened up what was a fairly gloomy office, with its dark wooden counter and brown panelling. Arthur Walkley died after a short illness in April 1952, ending a span of 60 years in which his family served the residents in this part of Cheltenham.
Following Mr Walkely’s death the next sub post master was Mr Victor Jacob who was here for about 12 years. He was followed by the final post master, Mr Jesse George, until the post office closed in 1980 and the business was transferred to Jakeway’s newsagents at 196 Bath Road.
At some time, the yard to the right of the building was built on and a small shop created. It is now known as 246b Bath Road.
The fomer post office was, in the late 1990s, a ladies dress shop called Helen G Fashions, which catered for the more mature lady. Today the shop is home to the Daisychain Benevolent Trust Fund, the purpose of which is the preservation of health and the relief of sickness in the community by supporting local charities that operate in the area.
Researcher: Marilyn West
Update: Stuart Manton (November 2014)
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