Postman Smith and his Family

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 to their garden path on a yoke, by Postman Smith. He would 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:-

Hester Florence born 1882
Clara (Celia) born 1887
Winifred Maud born 1889
George William born 1892
Clifford born 1894 died during WWI.
Kate 1896
Rose Agnes 1899
Ruth Celia 1902

Like a lot of villagers Postman Smith probably travelled with his son Clifford on one of his trips to Stansted, where like 100s of other young men, Clifford signed on at Stansted to join the army. Sadly Clifford did not survive the First World War.