Ghosts of Xmas Post

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blackprince
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Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby blackprince » Tue 26 Dec, 2017 12:25 pm

For several years between 1966 and the early 70’s I used to sign up to work on the post at Xmas.
At Xmas 1966 I was “posted” to Bramley sorting office. After a quick introduction to letter sorting in the office I was assigned to the “mobile sorting office”. This was a single decker coach with most of the seats removed, a couple of frames for sorting mail installed, and the back of the bus full of bags of parcels. The driver and a couple of regular postmen to do the sorting plus 4 scruffy students to do the legwork.
I have to say the old posties were fun to work with and really looked after us young ‘uns while they taught us the ropes.
The official method of working was for the bus to park up and for us temps to hump sacks of parcels delivering to houses in a street then walk back to the bus. The weather was cold with snow and ice on the ground so the method of working was improved upon with the bus driving down the street very slowly and us hopping on and off delivering 1 parcel at a time as we crawled past each house. The posties never had to leave the warmth of the bus but did a brilliant job of sorting the individual parcels for us to deliver.
I was amazed how many people in those days had whole Scottish salmon delivered by post before Xmas. These were in poly bags, packed with ice, but unrefrigerated and quite a few of them had gone off pretty badly. They were so smelly that we hoped the home owners were out so that we could just drop the stinking parcel off in a porch or passageway with a note through the letterbox. I did feel a little guilty that some peoples Xmas dinner would be spoilt and resolved never to order fish through the post myself.
We delivered bags of post to quite a few firms. One I remember was Heidelburgers , nicknamed “Idlebuggers”. The posties knew all the local firms and offices where we would be offered hot drinks and mince pies. There was one firm where we could use the canteen for free. Thanks to our more efficient speedy method of sorting & delivery, keeping the bus moving, we had time to enjoy this seasonal hospitality.
I have to say this first experience of working on the Xmas post was the most enjoyable. In later years I was generally employed on sorting letters on a night shift in the Queens Hall. The old tram shed was used as a huge temporary sorting office, The only slight amusement was reading the coded messages written on the backs of envelopes, (NORWICH was usual for letters from Armley Jail) and playing cards during the breaks. I used to take a look at the desk where the poorly addressed or damaged letters and parcels were dealt with. I was surprised at the lengths these dedicated postmen would go to find the correct address or repair a damaged parcel.
Apologies to Charles Dickens for the title.
Last edited by 1 on blackprince, edited 0 times in total.
It used to be said that the statue of the Black Prince had been placed in City Square , near the station, pointing South to tell all the southerners who've just got off the train to b****r off back down south!
Leodian
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby Leodian » Tue 26 Dec, 2017 1:25 pm

Thanks blackprince for that very interesting post. :)

Talking of Christmas post does anyone recall the last time there was a routine post delivery on Christmas Day? I recall there used to be one but it must be many years back now.

Ah yes, NORWICH and probably SWALK also on the envelope! ;)
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.
volvojack
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby volvojack » Tue 26 Dec, 2017 9:03 pm

In the mid- to late 1970s having sold my Business in Morley and being self employed who was the up to that point when my Brother in Law (who was the laziest person you could ever meet) suggested that i might be interested in a Job at the Post Office i thought i would enquire further. There were two lads who used have a drink in the Junction on Dewsbury Rd.i knew they were old timers and so asked their advice. They said that it was only a few weeks before interviews were to be held at the Headquarters on Wellington Street. As i had nothing to lose I went along and sat in a room of appox. 30 other fellows.The test was embarrassingly easy and not long after most of us were called back there and given a rough idea of how to post letters in the type of Pigeon hole boxes etc.
Then i began working at the District P.O. at Holbeck which handled all Letters and Parcels for the Beeston, Holbeck, Leeds 11 area. I began shown round a route (walk) on the Cardinals which is a large Corporation Estate just above the Tommy Wass Pub on Dewsbury Rd. and also the biggest number of Houses, Gardens, Dogs which all make for the hardest and longest to deliver to.
After walking around this Estate for about 2 or 3 hours when i did finally finish i used to stagger back to my car,drive home which was just a few minutes away and climb the stairs,fall on the bed and do a Starfish impression for about 2 hours.
After a few weeks of this torture i realised that the only real work if done by the Postmen who walk the Street, hence the men who has worked there the longest have the shortest number of houses to deliver to.
Meanwhile that the lads who had a drink in the drink Junction Pub at Lunchtime had got me a moved to the Wellington St main Office and one of the Cushy jobs was sat in the little Gate house pressing a button, raising a barrier whenever a Van needed to come in or leave.
The worst was dragging sacks of parcels around the floor at the Stourton Depot.
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blackprince
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby blackprince » Wed 27 Dec, 2017 10:35 am

Leodian wroteColonThanks blackprince for that very interesting post. :)

Talking of Christmas post does anyone recall the last time there was a routine post delivery on Christmas Day? I recall there used to be one but it must be many years back now.

Ah yes, NORWICH and probably SWALK also on the envelope! ;)


I don't recall it but the last Xmas day delivery was in 1960.
Some interesting postal history here:
See http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/9/newsid_3271000/3271363.stm

I remember that last posting dates for cards and parcels to be delivered by Xmas was a highly publicised deadline and everyone , even kids, would know them. We all had relatives in Canada, NZ , Oz and the last posting dates for these countries used to roll out in December like an Advent Calendar.
It used to be said that the statue of the Black Prince had been placed in City Square , near the station, pointing South to tell all the southerners who've just got off the train to b****r off back down south!

Leodian
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby Leodian » Wed 27 Dec, 2017 10:31 pm

Thanks blackprince for the link to information that the last time that there was a post delivery on Christmas Day (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) was in 1960. I knew it was many years back but I did not think it was that far back! Gosh that is even 6 years before England won the football World Cup, so it clearly was a long time ago ;).
A rainbow is a ribbon that Nature puts on when she washes her hair.
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buffaloskinner
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby buffaloskinner » Wed 27 Dec, 2017 11:21 pm

:lol:

My god Leo those old acronyms bring back some happy memories for me. Here’s a few more and most were from WWII written by soldiers to wives or girlfriends:

1. FRANCE: Friendship Remains and Never Can End
2. ITALY: I Trust and Love You
3. HOLLAND: Hope Our Love Lasts and Never Dies
4. SWALK: Sealed With a Loving Kiss
5. MALAYA: My Ardent Lips Await Your Arrival
6. EGYPT: Eager to Grab Your Pretty Tits
7. BURMA: Be Undressed/Upstairs Ready My Angel
8. NORWICH: kNickers Off Ready When I Come Home
9. ENGLAND: Every Naked Girl Loves A Naked Dick
10. VENICE: Very Excited Now I Caress Everywhere
11. CHINA: Come Home I'm Naked Already
So much more fun than IDK and GTFO.
Is this the end of the story ...
or the beginning of a legend?
dogduke
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby dogduke » Wed 27 Dec, 2017 11:27 pm

A long time indeed Leo.

It will even longer I think before either event takes place again and bet on
the double will never win.
Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

90% of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at.


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blackprince
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby blackprince » Fri 29 Dec, 2017 1:00 pm

Thanks for the list of acronyms buffaloskinner.
I had never heard of them before I sorted letters on the Xmas post. Didn't know there were so many or that they originated in WW2.
When I meet up with some old mates who served abroad in the forces I'll test their general knowledge with these.
Happy New Year,
BP
It used to be said that the statue of the Black Prince had been placed in City Square , near the station, pointing South to tell all the southerners who've just got off the train to b****r off back down south!

volvojack
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Re: Ghosts of Xmas Post

Postby volvojack » Fri 29 Dec, 2017 3:01 pm

When sorting the letters to and from Armley Prison it was difficult to sometimes see the address because of all the cryptic messages and Initials completely covering them front and back, plus there was always mentions of Elvis and Jailhouse Rock. Some of the Initials were quite rude and as posted earlier Just what the recipient could expect when the sender got released.d

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