We have seen a great many changes in Bailiff Bridge over the last 20 years with the closure and then demolition of the T.F.Firth’s carpet mill complex and then the re-development of the then vacant site. Even the Punch Bowl has had a smart makeover and a change of use.
A couple of weeks ago Bailiff Bridge Sub-Postmaster Jaswinder Singh Shergill closed the post office door for the last time.
Jas, as he is known by all his customers, arrived at the post office 13 years ago after being made redundant as an electrical engineer. Out of work he decided to strike out in to the world of becoming self employed. Having always being in work he was determined with his strong work ethic that he wanted to be sure to find the right business for him.
Living in the Low Moor area when the opportunity of taking on Bailiff Bridge Post Office came along it seemed to be just right for him in every sense, near home and a fresh challenge. Looking back on that decision what was his experience of post office work. None, he had only ever bought stamps in a post office.
Jas recalls that it took six months to learn all the different range of stamps he had for sale let alone all the other products every post office had to deal with. Gradually things came together and as with any new job it all started to fall into place.
As he closed the door for the last time he had time to reflect on all the Bailiff Bridge customers who had become friends. Having recently been ill he was grateful for all the good will and best wishes for a speedy recovery he had received from so many of his customers.
In his 13 years he has seen many changes. Jas feels that based on his experience the Government needs to decide what is the purpose of Post Office. Is it a profit making business or a service provider to public. Today Jas can count the number of products that the post office has that it can call its own on one finger - just the one, Postal Orders - everything else is owned by others. What major changes there have been in such a short time and no doubt many more to come.
Now his work is finished, Jas will spend more time playing bowls and hopefully make the grade to be in a team at the Bailiff Bridge Bowls club. To keep the sport momentum going he is taking up golf but as one new sport begins he thinks it is time to slow down and stop playing field hockey.
I am sure I can speak for all the customers at Bailiff Bridge Post Office thankyou and enjoy your retirement.
Although the post office has now closed from its familiar location in New Street it has not disappeared altogether but re-opened in Costcutters convenience store round the corner in Co-operative Buildings.
When did the first post office appear in Bailiff Bridge? From a pre First World War trade directory there is a post office shown in Wakefield Road, Bailiff Bridge, but just when the first one opened would need a lot more research.
In the two photographs this week we have Jas locking the door as he bids farewell to his shop, and Bailiff Bridge during the 1950s. The post office can be seen in the distance with its newspaper advertising boards.