HISTORY in miniature has been brought to Bexhill Museum. The contents of a single but highly informative display case tell how a postal service was brought to the town.
The display is the work of Bexhill Philatelic Society. It marks the stamp-collectors’ 50th anniversary.
Before 1800, any mail would have been by servant or public carrier and charged by postmaster in Hastings or Battle.
A post office was opened in Bexhill, then still a hill-top village, during the height of the Napoleonic Wars, when Hanoverian troops of the King’s German Legion were stationed in Old Town and on the Down.
This closed in 1810 but was later supplanted by a Penny Post receiving house at Battle, served by a daily foot messenger.
From 1840 a sub-post office was set up in High Street, still served by foot messenger from Battle, with sub-post offices at Little Common and Sidley.
By 1867 the sub-post office came under the control of Hastings. In 1890 a second sub-post office was set up near Bexhill station and in 1897 a new post office was erected in Buckhurst Road, near the new Town Hall, classed as an Independent Sub-Post Office under Hastings. The town’s postal address became ?Bexhill-on-Sea.?
In 1914 Bexhill’s postal service became independent of Hastings. Buckhurst Road was designated a Head Post Office until its replacement by the present Devonshire Square building in 1931 – which in 1970 was again placed under the control of Hastings.
In a letter to the Bexhill Observer in July 1963 Mrs Doris Cameron invited fellow enthusiasts to form a philatelic society. Around 40 people attended a public meeting at the De La Warr Pavilion that September. Within five days the committee met for the first time and by October the society held its first meeting for members.
Fifty years later, the society is still active. It provides everyone with an interest in postage stamps, postal history or picture postcards with a regular meeting venue at Parkhurst Hall. Monthly evening meetings include guest speakers, members’ exhibitions, auctions and bourses.
The society is holding an anniversary stamp and postcard fair in St Augustine’s Church Hall on Saturday, November 16 from 10am to 4pm.
The society welcomes new members. Full details may be obtained from the secretary, Ray Burnett on 214294 or at the society’s www.bexhillphilately.org.uk website.