Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sepia Saturday 162



A few weeks ago, a fellow Sepian made a post, or comment, that referred to the 1922 Hartlepool Wood Yard Fire.  As I'd never heard of it I decided to look it up and found an image that fits perfectly, well almost,  into this weeks theme.   The theme shows, I believe, the US equivalent of our Telegram Boys.  The liberty has been taken to broaden this to include the postal service because the telegram boys mainly rode motor bikes and now the GPO (or whatever they call themselves today) is phasing out the bike on the grounds of H & S.
Post man delivering to a house destroyed in the Great Hartlepool Fire that saw a large number of  people rendered homeless in 1922.



Postal delivery about 1900

Telegram Boy WW1

The Telegram Boy was simply, too most people, the bringer of good or bad news. Their messages were short urgent and often demanded an immediate reply.  As a consequence, they both delivered and took the message.  Longer more leisurely missives could go by the regular postal service.  In wartime their arrival was feared, as all too often, they brought the first news that a loved one was killed or missing in action.

WW1 took it's toll on the telegram boys to such an extent that women were recruited to take their place.





In the 1920s and 30s, both Postmen and Telegram Boys were expected to be exceptionally well turned.  As a ypoungster in the 1960s I had a short period of unemployment and joined the GPO.  We did 2 deliveries a day, including Saturdays and I worked with old fellows who recalled four a day and a daily inspection by the Postmaster to make sure they were clean and properly uniformed.





The mail must get through
A site to be cherished, a thing of the past done to death by Health & Safety like playing conkers, climbing trees, scrumping or playing "knock-down-ginger"






30 comments:

  1. Telegramme: the old fashioned version of a text! LOL. Like the pictures..

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  2. I have some CDVs of what I thought were railway porters, but on second thoughts perhaps they're telegraph messengers. I'll have a better look.

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    1. Will they make an appearance sometime?

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  3. I saw that Hartlepool picture and nearly decided to us it but change my mind as you will see. The row of boys made me think of bell boys in hotels or even pages.

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    1. Thanks Bob, I hope I didn't steal your thunder or trample on your corn. I look forward to seeing your offerings, they always seem to take us on a mystery tour.

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  4. I rather yearn for those days of neat uniforms and civility of purpose. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Four postal deliveries a day! Almost as good as email. Great photos - love the huge bike and the cute girls. It must have been terrible duty to have to deliver the bad war news to families.

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  6. Great post, very interesting..love the history lesson as well!

    Jan

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  7. Being the telegraph boy in wartime must have zapped the emotions of many a young man - and woman.

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  8. You've reminded me of my own postal delivery days Mike. Two Christmases running as a student I delivered the post twice a day. Out in the snow, deaing with dogs etc, on and off buses with a huge sack of mail and I'm only a little thing. My bigger and beefier friends got to work in the warm sorting office.

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  9. I worked in a post office one summer. I mainly had to sort entries for contests that were sent to different box numbers at the post office where I worked. It paid quite a bit better than other summer/temporary jobs.

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  10. What an interesting post. It reminded me of Angela's Ashes when Frank McCourt wrote of being a messenger boy. I love seeing the girls outfits, very similar to the boys but with more feminine style hats.
    Nancy

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    1. The girl's uniform was a bit of a problem. The boys jacket wasn't considered fit for the girly shape and so they ended up with a bit of a mish-mash, hence the double breasted coats. Maybe they were afraid of the woman in uniform and went for the all-covering.

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  11. Interesting post, great photos. Thank you for sharing.

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  12. I think that the postman on the penny farthing (2nd picture) is not delivering ordinary mail. To me that's airmail.
    Nice pictures!

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  13. Peter, you put me to shame. I tried to think of a one-liner for that image - did I think of airmail? No chance.

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  14. Great photos for the theme - love the penny farthing picture.

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  15. I've been wondering about Telegram Girls while going around Sepians' posts this weekend, and here they are. Glad to finally see them.

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  16. re the pennyfarthing.........Postmen must have needed long arms in them days!

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  17. I love the way you have gone with the theme. I can just remember the telegrams, but even in the 1950s they were rarely welcomed as they tended to bring bad news. As for the GPO, it is probably called something like Letraspress these days. Lovely old photos evocative of a time when men in uniforms were not serving a Community Service Order.

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  18. I love the postal delivery one! :)

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  19. Can you still send a telegram? I remember my parents getting them when someone died or else when there was a celebration and family couldn't come from Ireland so they would send a telegram and it would be read at the wedding or anniversary.

    I also remember mail deliveries twice a day and on Saturdas.

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  20. A most enjoyable post - thank you!

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  21. I have a number of good news telegrams. Maybe my family was just lucky. I do remember 2 mail deliveries a day but it stopped before I was 10 I'm sure.

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  22. A great post! The telegram seems old fashioned but in concept it was as much an instant message as any text from our modern devices, which we must remember are still very new. I really like the idea of having a messenger boy in a pillbox hat delivering my emails on bicycle.

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  23. A friend pointed me in this direction because, I assume, I'd just done a post on the decline in the use of the post(ie the sort of post to which you were referring). I'm of an age when I can remember telegrams. Banning bikes in the UK on H&S grounds? Are they serious? Come to New Zealand - you can't move for posties on bikes.

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  24. Wow, what an amazing and wide range of photos, and so many light-hearted and fun photos, besides such a great range of various wheels that were available through the years! Great clear photos too!

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  25. I have never seen a "mailman" on a bike before. Here in Oregon, they either walk with their cart or drive. Thanks for the history and all the great pictures.

    Kathy M.

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  26. This was so interesting and informative! What is conkers, scrumping, and knock-down-ginger?

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    1. Conkers - large seed of the Horse Chestnut Tree - kids (and some grown ups) use to bore a hole through the conker and thread a length string through it. A game was played whereby each player took it in turn to try end smash the others conker. It has been banned by various authorities for fear of being fined under Health & Safety legislation. And so too, the practice of collecting them by hurling lengths of wood into the trees to dislodge the conkers.
      Scrumping - pinching fruit (usually apples) from someone's garden for immediate consumption.
      Knock Down Ginger - Kid's game - knock on someone's door and hide so that nobody is there when the door is opened.

      All things of the past when Mothers weren't afraid to let their children out after dark.

      Hope this helps. Thanks for the nice words.

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