Before sub-post offices were established, ‘Receiving Houses’ were used for receiving local mail. These could be housed in an inn, a blacksmith’s, a grocer’s shop, etc. The indication is that a Receiving House was established in Boothstown in 1855, prior to which the village had been served by a Receiving House in Astley.
The rear of the envelope in following picture shows a Boothstown Receiving House stamp (undated) – this stamp was issued from the GPO London via Manchester on 5 November 1855. The policy of issuing undated name stamps ceased in 1859, after which their use rapidly decreased (they are not found after 1861). The letter below was sent with a one penny stamp, date franked in Manchester on 16 October 1858. It was sent to an address in Glasgow where it was stamped the following day (17 October 1858). Presumably it was handled in Boothstown en route.
The Present Post Office in Boothstown
The present post office in Boothstown is at the junction of Leigh Road and Simpson Road, opposite the Royal Oak pub. The post office can be seen to the left of the photograph below. The photograph was taken around 1947 and shows the chimney of Yates’s mill and the trolley bus overhead cables. Further up the road, to the left of the lorry on the road, is the newsagents, now demolished, at the corner of Victoria Street, said to be the location of a previous Boothstown post office. The present post office was reconstructed in 1993.
The shop on the site of the present post office was once Daniel and Sarah Hilton’s hardware shop. Daniel, in panama hat, can be seen on the photograph below watching road repairs in around 1895. The Greyhound pub is in the background.
The photograph below was taken in the garden of ‘The Privets’ in August 1909, at the wedding of Edith Hilton and Frank Mather. This is the garden of the present post office.
The First Post Office in Boothstown
The ordnance survey map from the 1890s clearly shows a post office a short distance (to the east) from the Greyhound Inn, on what is now Leigh Road but which was known as Chaddock Road in the late 19th century. This location is probably Boothstown’s first post office, since there is reference to postmasters in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, but not in earlier censuses.
In 1881 John Smith, aged 41, of 56-58 Chaddock Road (now called Leigh Road) was a ‘stationer and postmaster employing one boy’. He lived with his wife, Sarah, and their five children.
In 1891 John Smith, aged 51, of 56-58 Chaddock Road (now called Leigh Road) was a foreman wheelwright and sub-postman. He lived with his wife, Sarah, and family, including daughter Mary (26), who was a post office clerk.
In 1901 the family of John Smith is still at 58 Leigh Road (as it is now called), but there is no reference to the post office; John, 61, is described as a retired foreman in timber yard. His unmarried daughter, Mary (now 36), still lives with him but with no occupation recorded. Number 56 Leigh Road is an unoccupied dwelling. [There appears to be no reference to a post office on the 1901 census for Boothstown.]
Later Post Offices in Boothstown?
Between the first post office at 56-58 Leigh Road and the present post office, it is suggested that there were two other post offices. [Note that more work is required to confirm some of the following]:
A post office was thought to have been near the junction of Chaddock Lane and Victoria Street, to the right of the Victoria Street junction as seen from the photo below (although this was taken in 1945 when the post office had moved to its present location), and next to the right hand corner shop. The postmaster in this Boothstown post office was said to be a John Edge. A John Edge (55) is a retired grocer in Boothstown in 1891 (when he lived at 111 Chaddock Lane) and 1901. In 1881 John Edge was a grocer from 26-28 Chaddock Road (now Leigh Road).
A later post office in Boothstown was said to be located at the point from which the above photograph was taken, i.e. at the corner of Leigh Road and Garden Lane. This post office is shown in the photograph below. It was also a grocer’s shop and wine merchant, and was run by James Ruffley. The shop later became Moyle’s fish and chip shop. Note that the 1911 census records James Ruffley at 10-12 Leigh Road, a grocer and wine salesman, but there is no reference to postal business.
A postcard of Boothstown from 1908 (shown on another page of this web site) has the words ‘J. Hilton, Post Office, Boothstown’ printed on the back. It is not yet clear whether this was a member of Daniel Hilton’s family from the present post office.
However, the 1901 census records Fred Birchall (25) and his wife Alice (27) at 41 Leigh Road. They are described as ‘postman’ and ‘postmistress’. It is not clear whether they ran a post office, but their address is a short distance from the modern post office, round the corner in the direction of the Greyhound.
Acknowledgements and Notes
This web page was compiled by Tony Smith, and originally based on notes on Boothstown’s post offices by the late Ken Fairfax, with background on postal history by the late Derrick Cunliffe. Photographs are from the collection of Ken Fairfax except the photographs of Hilton’s hardware shop and the wedding party which were taken from ‘Boothstown – images of the past’, compiled by Ann Monaghan, Elsie Mullineux and Carol Woodward. Tony Smith reviewed the original material with reference to census data (1861-1911). More work is needed to confirm the location of some earlier post offices.