November 7, 2018 Kate 8Comment

Not a very inspiring title? Here’s the thing…

Hebden Bridge is an awesome little town. But like all little towns it’s fighting its battles. There’s the traffic (flood prevention works continue to strangle us). There’s the parking. There’s the rail strikes. Like all small towns – actually even big cities – the high street is struggling to compete with the internet. Folks venture into the shops to try clothes or shoes on, or look at a book, and then walk away and order it cheaper online. It’s not just my local bookshop The Bookcase, but even in a big Waterstones; people are very blatant about it. People love to shop. The towns and the cities are full of shoppers. But you have to note the increasing number of empty shops; little ones in Hebden Bridge. HUGE ones in Manchester and Leeds. Can people not see that eventually there will only be Amazon? And then we won’t venture out, because there will be no where to venture out to. And we won’t see anyone anymore!

Perhaps I’m being over dramatic. Perhaps…

But then the beautiful, glowing, winter haven that is Radiance Hebden Bridge’s beautiful Lighting boutique is closing for good in January.

I try, as far as possible, to think local for my business. My framer, Vince at Abacus, is up the road in Mytholmroyd. My print maker, Rob at Knight Graphics, is in Sowerby Bridge. We cut the lanterns at The laser Hive, up the hill. I don’t source stuff cheap from overseas! They all do a brilliant job for me, and in return they value my custom. It’s a two way thing.

When we send stuff out from the studio we trolly it up the road to the Post Office. I think I’m a bit old fashioned like this, but I like my Post Office. They’re nice in there!

This is Satnam, the postmaster. He also does daft things like skydiving, and running through mud to raise money for good causes. (photo by Jason Elliot, from the 500 faces of Hebden Bridge)

Lorraine and Christine are also lovely, but more camera shy, so i can’t put them up here.

When I went in the other day it was suspiciously quiet, which worried me. Apparently people, and local businesses, are using them less, opting instead for Royal Mail contracts (which is not the same thing!), or a courier like My Hermes or Yodel. Amazon do label-less returns now, from the Royal Mail sorting office, not the Post Office. But the Post Office is so much more important in my community. Like many small towns we’ve lost our high street banks (Lloyds, the last to go, will close early next year), so we rely on the Post Office to do our banking. For them it’s a lot of administration, for very little return, but they’re mopping up the town’s needs as the big corporations disappear. Lots of towns – even quite big places like Halifax, have lost their Post Offices to operate as a side line in WH Smiths. WH Smiths aren’t doing so well lately, so if they go too – what then?

So I just want to say USE YOUR POST OFFICE. Use it, or lose it – and then, as a community, we’re a bit stuffed….

So, when you order a print or a lantern from me, I’m just passing on the actual postage costs. I don’t have a contract with a courier, and I’m not going to get one. If something is cheap – too cheap – someone somewhere is paying for it, even if it isn’t you. I’m supporting my post office.

8 thoughts on “Hebden Bridge Post Office

  1. I totally agree with you Kate. The live in a small market town called Cheadle,in Staffordshire Moorlands, which is on the edge of the Peak District. Over the last 4 years, we’ve lost 3 Building Societies,2 Banks,our Shoe shop,Bakery and many other independently owned small businesses. We’ve also lost many of our bus services that link our smaller villages together. Like you,our local Post Office is our lifeline to the “outside” Thankfully, our community utilise the facilities a lot,and they are always busy, friendly and helpful. So hopefully will stay in our community for many years to come.
    We have a close knit Arts and Crafts community, who’ve really pulled the local community together since we’ve started losing our High Street shops. I organise a week long High Street Gallery every March. Which involves most of the High Street and surrounding shop windows. Who display an array of paintings,weaving,ceramics.. any type of arts and crafts made by the local community, including the schools. We’ve had an amazing Yarn Bomb and the community input for the World War 1 centenary,has been phenomenal! I think the town has surprised itself! It’s a truly wonderful sight to see.
    We have a constant battle with our local Council,who only seem interested in finding land for new housing. Which a Government Survey resulted in us having no requirement for any new house builds. But the Council don’t listen and do what they want. It’s, sadly, a big division between “Us and them”If we all pulled together,it would make all the difference.

    Thank you for sharing your own experience Kate. It seems that it’s the arty minded people who all think the same way when it comes to their local community.

  2. Well said Kate
    We love coming back and shopping in Hebden where we lived nearby in Barkisland until moving to north Wales to open our b&b 6 years ago
    Hebden is always our first call when returning to visit family
    In fact I’m bringing 3 of my newer “Welsh friends there for a girly weekend in December can’t wait to show them just how fabulous it is
    We shop locally for ourselves & our business it’s so very important

  3. Satnam is a lovely helpful guy and we use the Post Office. I was there today to post a parcel and use the banking service. No fuss and service with a smile and chat. What more could you ask for?

  4. Well said we must supprt all our small shops as you say use them or lose them
    High rates ect don’t help it will be a poor world without shops

  5. Well said Kate! I heard that all the big wigs from Wetherspoons came up to look at the old Nat West building but decided against it as there was no outdoor space. Rumour has it that they have their eye on the Post Office if it closes because of the car park / beer garden potential out the back. We need to support all our local businesses and much as possible or Hebden will become a clone town x

  6. Well said & done Kate we all must pull together for the sake of our local community often the government’s business rate has finished off many smaller businesses as well as internet buying.

  7. Kate,
    I enjoy reading all the comments and also your story of the Post Office and your town. It is interesting how similar we are even though I live across the pond in a little town called Gig Harbor in Washington State, USA.
    I moved here last year after being born and raised in California. I lived in Newport Beach a city in Orange County. It had been my home for the past 78 years.
    Living in a small town now, I enjoy the difference of not being lost in the crowd. Gig Harbor has a heart for Art. There are festivals and galleries and many businesses that support local artists. Many opportuniities as an artist to have your work shown and perhaps purchased. So different from the high competition in California where there is little chance to be successful as an artist without selling your soul.
    But what I find interesting is that people here are worried about the same thing that your fellow villagers worry about. To become swallowed up in some corporate sweep that will take away all the charm and humanity of your town.The locals here fight the same fight as you.
    Being a native Californian, I sadly watched as more and more people moved in and more and more of the laid back California spirit transformed into a hectic, unpleasant daily pursuit. Entitlement became the thing that I could least accept. It broke my heart to leave my home state and my children and grandchildren, but I now live in an idyllic community that supports my beliefs.
    I hope all of you can enjoy your town and keep its charm forever.

  8. We love coming to Hebden Bridge when visiting our daughter in Halifax, love all the shops I have one of your lovely pictures of Staithes. X

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