One of the essential items in Henham was receiving the mail, unlike nowadays with the advent of transport systems, rural villagers did not receive daily mail. Postman Smith, as he was affectionately known as, served as Henham postman for 36 years, with the boast he never missed a day’s delivery. He would not only deliver the mail, he was also a lifeline to the villagers in other ways as well
As late as the early nineteen thirties, some houses were still receiving their drinking water, carried up their garden path on a yoke, by Postman Smith. He use to lodge overnight at Stansted for 1/ - a week, and then walk to Henham and do all the rounds on foot to Chickney Spring, and out to Amberden Hall, (Stansted is approximately 6 miles from Henham). A bell used to be rung at the corners of footpaths up to houses and then people rushed out with their letters. He would also take in bottles for medicine to the Doctor’s surgery, wait while they were made up, and bring them back at 1d. a time. At Christmas he was allowed a horse and cart; the horse lived in a stable next to the Venture. Postman Smith and his son George, used to set off about 5 o’clock, to be at Stansted at 6 George driving the horse, and old Postman, wrapped up in his coat, asleep in the bottom of the cart.
Villagers remember Postman Smith on his round of the village greeting everyone he meets with a smile and a cheery word and he never missed a single delivery regardless of the weather
William was born on the 25th July 1859 and his wife Celia on the 15th April 1861, they had eight children:-
|name||birth year & date|
|Hester Florence||1882||20 March||
William and Celia with one of their daughters
|Clara (Celia)||1887||03 July|
|Winifred ? Maud||1889||21 May|
|George William||1892||27 June|
|Clifford died in 1914-18 War||1894||14 October|
|Rose Agnes||1899||17 October|
|Ruth Celia||1902||19 December|
Like a lot of villagers Postman Smith probably travelled with his son Clifford on one of his trips to Stansted, wherelike 100s of other young men, Clifford signed on at Stansted to join the army. Sadly Clifford did not survive the First World War.
William's mother taken in the 1870's outside
her home in Church Street, Henham.
Clifford Smith in his uniform
|William's daughter Celia|
William and Celia’s daughter Celia was married to Frank Barker. Frank Barker lost two of his brother’s in World War I.
William and Celia moved around within the village, the 1901 Census shows they are living in Crow Street, two photographs are taken at their home at “Longyards” in 1938.
William and Celia moved to “Longyards” a thatched cottage near the church. Photographs below were taken at their home.
|This photograph is taken in 1914, when William was 55. It is believed it is when he received his Imperial Service Medal from the Post Office.||Photograph taken in August 1938||Taken in July 1933 Celia was 70 and William was nearly 74|
A big thank you to William's great grandson Robin Kent who has kindly sent us the photograph of William in 1914. Robin's grandma is Ruth, William's youngest daughter.
Their grandchildren attended the local school, if anyone can identify any of the other pupils please contact me.