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Postal history under threat amid closure plans

02 Nov 2019, 07:48

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/loca ... d-20788328

Sanquhar's post office - which has been traced to 1712 - is registered in the Guinness Book of Records, but faces an uncertain future after the current owners announced their intention to leave.

Fears are mounting that the world’s oldest mail office could be facing its last post.

Sanquhar Post Office, which dates from 1712 and is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, has a renewed threat.

It was saved from closure in 2015 when current postmaster Manzoor Alam – a postal history buff – took it over after reading an article which said its future was in doubt.

But the branch, which was opened more than 300 years ago as a staging post for mail carriages, is now facing uncertainty.

Manzoor’s wife Nazra, who runs the facility, told the Standard she has lodged notice of her intention to quit with post office bosses.

If no buyer comes forward for the business, it will close at the end of the six month notice period.

Nazra said: “I’m approaching 68 and it is quite a lot to handle. I’ve been doing it for five years.

“It’s a shame because a lot of people in the community use the post office. We do a lot of banking nowadays.

“It’s not just older people, we get a lot of younger people in because we only have one bank and if you don’t belong to that, you don’t have anywhere to go, so we do a lot of banking services.

“A lot of people like the fact that it is an individual post office and they like to come in rather than going to counters in supermarkets.”

Nazra, whose family live in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, added: “It is quite a difference to travel down to my family and I have done it for a long time.

“I would rather sell the business but I have given notice and I will go at the end of the six months.”

The site is a big draw for tourists as well as postal enthusiasts and stamp collectors who visit to have letters franked with a hand-stamp bearing the legend: “The World’s Oldest Post Office”.

Residents fear they would be dealt a double blow if they lose the branch.

It is understood the current owners had put the branch on the market but offered the statutory six months’ notice to post office chiefs when they failed to find a buyer.


Alison Williams, who lives nearby, told the Standard: “It’s really sad. The post office is such a tourist attraction, everybody who comes to Sanquhar goes there. It will be such a shame if we lose it.

“It is well used by the community. They stock a whole range of stuff, as well as offering the post office facility. It would be sad to lose the oldest post office in the world and see that title go somewhere else.”


MSP Oliver Mundell said: “I am concerned to hear that the future of the post office in Sanquhar is up in the air again. It will be worrying for many in the town who also value its’ historic importance as the oldest working post office.

“I will continue to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to support the community.”

A spokesman for the post office said they had not yet received Nazra’s notice.

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