The Main Post Office in Chesham was closed by Post Office Counters and leased as a franchise. Unfortunately this didn’t work as the shop which took on the franchise went out of business and Chesham spent something like 18 months without a post office at all.
There were sub post offices situated in Waterside, Broad Street, Berkeley Avenue, Nalders Road, Great Hivings, Vale Road, Botley Road and Lye Green Road which have all closed. There is still a sub post office in Greenway.
Post office, 77 Broadway
The Main Post Office had moved into 77 Broadway (built in the 17th century) in 1903 and continued on these premises until the 1980s. The sorting office was at the side of the building behind the counter and the town’s first telephone exchange was on the premises as well.
The premises were refurbished in 1935 and electricity introduced as well as a public telephone booth. The telephone exchange quickly outgrew the facilities and is now housed in a separate building to the rear of No 77. The sorting office moved to its own premises in Howard Road.
In 1990, Post Office Counters announced that because they were unable to upgrade the listed building in which the post office was housed, they were closing it down and hoped to open a sub post office managed by an agency post master somewhere else in the town centre.
In 1991, Chiltern District Council accused Post Office Counters of going back on a promise to consult with them before deciding on the site of the new agency post office. This turned out to be a shop called Anytime which was at No 31 High Street (now Costa Coffee). Meanwhile, 77 Broadway was split into two units. One was a shop whilst the other was a public house.
1997 and Post Office Counters sack their post office manager at Anytime due to financial irregularities in his accounts. 1998 and the lease at 31 High Street expires, so Anytime and the post office move over the Christmas break to 69-71 High Street (now the Foodbank).
The post office next surfaces at Rosel Stores, 81 High Street (now W.H.Smith) and it was this establishment which closed down in the 2000s, leaving the post office homeless.
After quite a lengthy period of time when Chesham was forced to rely solely on the sub post office at Greenway for postal services, the main post office is back and currently housed at 93 High Street.
View more shops on Chesham’s High Street
Thank you to the following authors for their contribution:
A History of Chesham Shops: Gwyneth Bradley, Anne Crabbe, Tony Eustace, Keith Fletcher, Pat Kent, Frank Pearce, Eleanor Phillips and Vanessa Worship
A History of Chesham Shops Volume 2: Anne Crabbe, Tony Eustace, Keith Fletcher, Pat Kent, Eleanor Phillips and Vanessa Worship
Pubs of Chesham & Villages: Ray East, Keith Fletcher and Peter Hawkes
Chesham – the Origin of the Town’s Services: Eleanor Phillips and Keith Fletcher
More Tales of Old Chesham: George Piggin
The Story of John Brazil: Jean Archer
Photographs: courtesy of Chesham Heritage.