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 smithfamily1

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
Kate 1896 19 August
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. smithcliff William's daughter Clara
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.


William Smith Photograph taken in August 1938 Taken in July 1933 Celia was 70 and William was nearly 74
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.

Jesse Barker, at the time she was living in the what were then the railway cottages at North Hall, so a fair walk to school every day. She would also have to take home a can of milk, she had a sister who’s name was Eva.

Jesse was born Oct. 6th 1910, how would parents feel about there children walking those lonely roads at the age of ten these days, I think there were times when the weather was very bad when she stayed over night at Postman Smith’s her grandfather.
School Photograph of 1921, in the centre of the second row down is Jesse Barker
  School Photograph of 1921, in the centre
of the second row down is Jesse Barker
Postman Smith’s headstone in the graveyard at Henham Church. It says -

Postman W. Smith
Entered Into Rest Dec 18th 1943
Aged 84 yrs

Loved Honoured And
Remembered
By All Who Knew Him
And His Wife Celia, Died Nov 29 1952


Grave of "Postman Smith"
Celia died on 29 November 1952, a newspaper report explains that although she was 90, she was still making Christmas presents at Haymeads Hospital in Bishops Stortford. The Rev Shaw conducted her funeral and some of her family that were mentioned in the newspaper report were George her son and his wife, her daughters Mrs F Camp, Mrs F Barker, Mrs K Smith and Mrs R Bush and her husband. (Women were referred to by their husband’s names at this time), her grandsons Mr A Camp, Mr G Camp, Mr C Smith and Mr J Bush and her granddaughters Mrs E Turner, Mrs M Goodchild and Mrs J Cornell. smithclip
Margaret Goodchild, one of William and Celia's grandchildren left: Margaret Goodchild, one of William and Celia's grandchildren