The History of Ollerton Post Office
Ollerton Post Office was originally No. 1 Toll Bar Cottages; the row of cottages on the left when you turn left into Marthall Lane from the Ollerton Cross Roads. It was demolished in the late 1960s to improve visibility coming up to the main road from Marthall Lane. The Post Office was then relocated over the road to an annex to 1 Yew Cottage - the first cottage on the left in Seven Sisters Lane. The annex has now been demolished following the closure of the Post Office.
The photo on the left shows Ollerton Cross Roads circa 1930, looking in the direction of the Dun Cow. Note the two cottages on the left just visible past the telephone pole and before the Dun Cow, which have been demolished but the original boundary hedge can still be seen. The cottages were demolished at the time Caldwells Nursery in Knutsford wanted to relocate to Ollerton to a location which existed as Caldwells Rose Nursery on land adjacent to the cottages. Following a public meeting, the planned relocation was rejected by Ollerton residents based on safety issues related to access to the site from the main road and the effect the business would have on the local community - particularly the residents in Marthall Lane and the cross roads area.
The first record to hand of a Post Office in Ollerton is Circa 1880. The tenancy of the Post Office was held by a Mrs Elizabeth Harrop and Mr William Harrop. The location was the property in Marthall Lane known as Toll Bar Cottages. At that time there was an out building situated on the left hand side of the Knutsford side of the main dwelling, known as the Bake House, where Mrs Harrop used to bake oven bottom loaves on the premises for the village. A Mrs Crimes took over the tenancy from the Harrops and ran the Post Office until 1924. From 1924 until 1947 there were several tenants but in 1947 three friends Mrs Mary Horn, Miss Beatrice Bowker and Miss Jessie Matherson took over the tenancy and soon became known locally as the Shop Ladies.
The ladies were quite unique as the villagers relied so much on the services they provided. The Shop Ladies ran the Post Office come village shop from 1947 to 1967. In 1967 the property was bought by Cheshire County Council and demolished to make way for a road widening scheme to improve visibility at Ollerton Cross Roads.
Early photograph taken in the direction of the Dun Cow showing the original location of No. 1. Toll Bar Cottages and how it protruded out restricting the vision right when coming out of Marthall Lane.
The proposal to close the post office and demolish it was of great concern to the residents of Ollerton and a public meeting was called in 1966 to be held in the village school to discuss the matter. The school room was filled to capacity and resulted in Bucklow Council being requested to "provide a new shop and post office at economic rent".
Eventually the matter was resolved by a local benefactor providing new premises attached to No 1 Yew Tree Cottages, just across the roads from the Old Post Office Location. The three ladies moved into the new premises in 1968. Miss Horn died in 1968, Miss Bowker in 1969 and Miss Matherson in 1975. The photograph below was taken taken after No. 1 was demolished. The small fence shows the original boundary.
In 1975 a ceremony was attended at the cross roads in recognition of the three ladies for their services to the local community over a period of 25 years. A Sorbus Tree ( Joseph Rock ) was planted By Councillor John Mason (Parish Council) deputising for the Chairman Mr George Littler and Lady Butterworth ( Vice Chairman of the Women's Institute ) and a memorial plaque was placed at the base of the tree. ( See web site section "Village Journey" ).
The Post Office was then run for a short period by A Mrs Diane Gammon and then by Mr and Mrs Hope from Ollerton. In 1982 the Post Office was taken over by Mr and Mrs Bailey, and finally by Mrs Bailey after the loss of her husband. Every effort was made to find a new tenant for the business but this failed and Mrs Bailey finally retired in April 2000 and the Post Office finally closed.
The final event related to the Ollerton Post Office was a retirement presentation to Mrs Bailey by Mrs Perry of Manor Lane which took place outside the Post Office and was attended by a large number of residents, and proved to be very emotional time as the village lost a key facility to village life and well respected Village Post Mistress.