Main Post Offices of Laindon

Standing outside the shop on a suitable day, with the wind in the North West quarter, it might be possible to spit on Laindon Station to justify any claims that the Andrew's shop was in spitting distance of the railway.

By John Bathurst

Photo:Laindon Station Post Office

Laindon Station Post Office

The name above the door of this shop, “Laindon Station PO” is a reasonable description of its position in Laindon High Road. Standing outside the shop on a suitable day, with the wind in the North West quarter, it might be possible to spit on Laindon Station to justify any claims that the Andrew’s shop was in spitting distance of the railway.
Photo:Laindon New Post and sorting Office

Laindon New Post and sorting Office

It certainly qualified as Laindon’s Post Office right up until the time a purpose built branch replaced it in 1954 or 6 on a vacant site that had never, ever been developed on the other side of the High Road, immediately opposite the “Laindon Hotel”. The original post office illustrated in the photograph stood on the North corner of the Denbigh Road / High Road junction.

It is not clear if the name on the facade is that of Mrs. Ethel Andrews or of the gentleman pictured standing in the doorway. Certainly, Mrs. Andrews ran the shop and her prowess with the franking device as she canceled the postage stamps on the letters that had been collected from the post box to the left of the shop’s front door was something to behold.

The GR on the box dates the PO’s franchise to no earlier than May 1911 and at the time of photograph it was still possible to buy stamps in strips one penny at a time from the adjacent machine.

At the rear of the shop was a large barn like shed accessed from Denbigh Road that served as a sorting office. From here, all Laindon’s postmen set out with their distinctive red bicycles to deliver around the districts of Laindon, Langdon Hills, Lee Chapel and Dunton. Basildon, then had its own arrangements.

Although there were a number of other sub-post offices in the district, all mail in and out passed through this sorting office. I believe this building also served as the local telegraph office, in which case, telegraph messenger “boys” would also depart from here. (This is something that needs verification) 

On the pavement’s edge in front of the Andrew’s shop stood one of the few public telephone boxes of the area. It was one of the less sophisticated equipped boxes of its type in that had only one button (A) available to press. The most sophisticated boxes had two, A and B, accompanied by a Strowger dialing mechanism which meant that local calls could be made by inserting two pennies and ringing somebody direct and not have to wait for the operator to answer. Without this facility, Laindon’s telephone system was cumbersome and, as a result, a lot of people found it rather frightening. Potential users had to approach the box more often than not, armed with a fair amount of small change, particularly if the call involved any considerable distance like calling a London number (all of 25 miles distance). Every call had to be directed through the operator who would only let it proceed further once contact had been made with the recipient and then only after the cost had been calculated and the necessary fee paid. The whole process could be an irritant to those who had the advantage of the best, up to date, system of telephonic communication.

This page was added by Ian Mott on 27/05/2011.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Hi Eddie you are on the right track with regards to Andrews post office and the connection with the Collins family when I get a moment I will tell the story.

By Ken Porter
On 10/02/2013

Still got my 1953 P.O. Book stamped Nightingale Parade. Pocket money and bob a job was put in and then taken out to go to Archie's for Hornby OO

By Roger Wicking
On 10/02/2013

This is a follow-on for my comments above. The following comes from the FreeBMD website. Edwin C Andrews (Age 21) married Kate Collings (Age 33) in 1911. Kate died in 1935 aged 58. In 1936, Edwin married Ethel Alice V Wicking (b. 1900). Presumably, she is the Ethel Andrews referred in this article above. Edwin died in 1947, aged 57.

By Eddie Hunt
On 08/02/2013

In the 1911 Census return for Laindon, a Post Office in Station Road is listed with Census Schedule No. 146. Andrews seemed the prime candidate to be this Post Office, given Andrews location. But Andrews was not in Laindon. It was in Little Burstead, according to the enlarged map posted by Ian. And hence I am sure would have been included in the return for Little Burstead. The 1911 Census was conducted on 3rd April, and if Andrews was not a Post Office before May 1911 as suggested in this article above, I believe that the Post Office prior to Andrews was at the far end of the parade of shops shown in the photo captioned "Laindon 2384" next to the railway station. This was the shop that was later Kentex. The head of the house was Jane Collings, her daughter Kate is listed as Subpostmistress and another daughter M.M.A. Collings as Assistant Postmistress. Also listed as Assistant Postmistress (sic) was Edwin Charles Andrews. So presumably, he moved across the road and took on the Post Office business eventually.

By Eddie Hunt
On 07/02/2013

There was another post office in Nightingale Parade. There was a grocery department in the same shop.

By Janet Harper (nee McDonnell)
On 26/09/2012

Further to the feature of Andrews Post Office, a map of 1898 in the book of Peter Lucas shows a post office in Dunton Rd. seemingly adjacent to the Percy Newman forge. While my memories only date back to the 1920s I cannot remember any buildings between the forge and its cottages and the bridge. This post office may have pre-dated Andrews and would it possibly have been the only post office in Laindon at that time?

By W.H.Diment
On 25/09/2011

Although Andrews was the main post office of Laindon, one of the sub post offices was a much more imposing building, that of Laindon Park Post Office in Basildon Rd., and I believe Ken Porter has a very good photograph of this. In post war years it was run by the Fynn family, although I do not remember if this was true of prewar days.

By W.H.Diment
On 24/09/2011

I can remember Mrs Andrews in the late 40s when I used to go around with Brian Andrews and his brother John to play snooker they had a full size table, round the back you could see them sorting the mail ready for delivery, later the shop became Stanwoods. Down Denbigh road just past the sorting office was Turners the coal merchants

By Charlie Clark
On 29/06/2011

Am I right in thinking in the 60s the post office social club was here in the old sorting office after it moved to Basildon and did the social security office relocate here from further up the High Rd going towards the Fortune.

By Gloria Sewell
On 27/05/2011
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