Concerns grow for world’s oldest post office

Concerns are growing for the future of the world’s oldest post office - as a new owner has not been found.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 11:28 am
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 11:29 am
Nazra Alam outside Sanquhar Post Office, which opened its doors in 1712. Pic: SWNS
Nazra Alam outside Sanquhar Post Office, which opened its doors in 1712. Pic: SWNS

Sanquhar Post Office opened in 1712 and is recognised by Guinness World Records as the first post office in the world.

The 308-year-old Post Office is a popular visitor attraction in the village and a ‘lifeline’ for elderly people in the community who depend on it for banking.

But it could soon be lost as it’s elderly owners, Dr Manzoor Alam and his wife Nazra, have been unable to find a buyer for the 18th century premises.

Last November the couple, who bought the businesses in 2015, announced their plans to retire, and hoped a new owner could be found to keep it open.

They had planned to step down at the end of May but have now called on politicians to help them safeguard the businesses.

It is understood the couple have agreed to stay on until a new postmaster is found.

David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, has called on Alok Sharma, the business secretary, to intervene.

In the House of Commons, Mr Mundell said: “Sanquhar has the world’s oldest post office and that title derives from the fact that the post office has been on the same site for 300 years.

“Will the Secretary of State confirm that, along with the Post Office, he’ll take every opportunity to keep the post office on that site?”

Mr Sharma replied: “I recognise the historic significance and the role of the post office in Sanquhar, and I thank all the staff who have kept it running over the years, particularly most recently through the Covid pandemic.

“I very much hope that a long-term future for that post office can be secured.”

The business is on the market for £275,000 and includes a three bed cottage, rear gardens and a sorting office.

It is popular with its banking service as Sanquhar only has one bank, after the closure of RBS in 2014.

The branch is also an attraction for tourists, post enthusiasts and stamp collectors, who seek to have their letters hand stamped at the world’s oldest Post Office.

A Post Office spokesman said: “We are proud of the heritage of Sanquhar Post Office and are committed to preserving it into the future.

“Post Office will be working with the community to try to find a new postmaster to take on the branch and ensure it remains part of the network.”