Patterdale Postmen and Postwomen

Patterdale Post Office © Anne Clarke

An Extract from the Chronicles of Patterdale by Miss Elizabeth A. Little tells how the postal service worked from the 1860s to 1957.

Michael Mattinson was the carrier in the 1860s… Mattinson also carried the post once a week to Patterdale and the letters were dumped at the Kings Arms now the Patterdale hotel and they remained there until called for.

Coffee Jim had a shop at Woodbine house and they were later left there.

On February 14th 1870 John Priestman was appointed postman to Patterdale and drove a mail gig. He carried the mails through ‘sun and storm’ for 30 years.

The Lake steamers were started about the same time and brought in an evening mail. They must have given great excitement and help to the dale.

The Post office was transferred from Woodbine house to Barco house and remained there until 1905. It was again moved to a small building now known as the stores adjoining the Patterdale hotel. John Wall, Patterdale, remembers running with his ‘bowley’ with telegrams to Dockray as a boy.

Later Mr and Mrs Chugg built a new house and shop to the south side of the township where the Post office has remained with successive postmasters: Mr P C Merritt and Mrs Dawson until Mr W H Harrison the present postmaster took over in a 1954. There was a Post office at Glenridding with Mr WR Messenger as postmaster. He succeeded Mr A M Bolton in 1945.

The mailman from Penrith delivers letters and parcels to every house from Grisedale bridge to Hartsop and George Teasdale, postman delivers in Glenridding.

Group outside Patterdale PO in 1930. With thanks to Gillian Beggs

Nicola Sproson (née Merrett), has kindly shared some mementos from her aunt Ellen, daughter of Peter and Dulcie Merrett who ran the Post Office from 1937- 1944.

Peter and Dulcie Merrett with their daughter Ellen and son John outside Patterdale Post Office. With thanks to Nicola Sproson
Extract from Mrs. Merrett's record of items sold in Patterdale Village Store

Although Ellen was only 6 when the family left Patterdale, she has really clear memories of her life in Patterdale. Read Ellen's Memories here

Gillian Beggs brings the story up to date

Geoff Walker took over the Patterdale Post Office and ran it for 28 years from 1969 to 1997. Then Christine Kenyon and John Varley until 2005. Finally, Tom Driscoll and Gillian Beggs ran it for 16 years until they retired in 2021.

Left to right: Gillian Beggs, Christine Kenyon, Tom Driscoll, John Varley and Geoff Walker

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