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Did you pop into Spring Hill Post Office in the 1960s?

Spring Hill Post

18 December 2019

Black Country Living Museum is looking for memories from the 1960s of the Spring Hill Post Office, Wolverhampton, as part of its ambitious new development project BCLM: Forging Ahead. The post office will be recreated and set in the mid-1960s as part of the new 1940s to 1960s town providing the opportunity for visitors to learn about the history of the postal service, and its social and technological development.

 Built in the late 1930s, Spring Hill Post Office was ready to serve the large new Woodlands Estate, Upper Penn. It was situated on the A449, Penn Road, from Wolverhampton towards Stourbridge and Worcester, with a George V post box outside. Plans were submitted in February 1935 on behalf of Leonard Nettleton, a local confectioner, and the post office opened in 1937. Leonard, his wife Edith, and son Leonard Stanley (usually known as Stan) lived in a flat above the shop. 

By 1965 the shop was run by Leonard’s son Stan and a ‘Nettleton’s’ sign was added to the shopfront. In addition to the traditional products and services of a post office, Stan sold Dinky and Hornby models, amongst other brands. The business was sold to a Mr Skilton in the 1970s, and his son Peter Skilton took over in 1985, renting the shop space. When Stan died in 1990 Peter took the opportunity to buy the building, and he lives and works there to this day. It operated as a post office until about 2005, when it closed along with many others in Wolverhampton. The shop is now a specialist model shop. 

Post Offices were a fixture of every high street in the Black Country and, by the post-war period, had often been there for a century or more. With the introduction of the Penny Post, post offices, post boxes and postmen appeared all over the country, and the sending of letters, postcards and later telegrams expanded. By the end of the 19th century the service was highly professional, with a new law stating that every house in Britain should have 2-3 deliveries per week.  

In 1940, the former Dudley & Stourbridge, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton Head Offices came under the control of the new Midland Region.  The number of letters sent grew steadily, and the profit of the business remained even until the 1970s. As with many industries, working conditions and wages improved during this period, which eventually caused problems for the labour-intensive post office. In 1960 it was converted from a government department (from which profits were repaid into the Exchequer) into a self-financing nationalised business. 

To help us in our recreation, we would love to talk to anyone with memories of the Post Office. Do you remember Spring Hill Post Office? Did you buy, or post, your Christmas cards there? Did you buy any models in the shop? Do you remember Stan Nettleton? 

Please get in touch with us by emailing collections@bclm.com or call 0121 557 9643 

For more information about BCLM: Forging Ahead, please visit www.bclm.com/forgingahead

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