Sunday, 4 January 2015

502. Iconic Manx Post Offices To Close.

Regent Street Post Office - postcard of 1987

  In mid-November 2014, the Isle Of Man Post Office announced that it would close 2 of its iconic post offices situated in Regent Street in Douglas and Parliament Street in Ramsey in the face of financial losses of £750,000 per year. 
  The following month, the Manx Parliament, the House of Keys, delayed the closure of the 2 post offices for a period of 3 months. The Chairman of the Manx Post Office, Graham Cregeen, insisted that the post offices were not being closed but postal services were to be provided by "an alternative means of service delivery" because post office services were to be outsourced to nearby newsagents which would become sub-post offices. Cregeen claimed that the 3 month extension of the life of the 2 post offices would add another £90000 to the Manx Post Office's financial losses because the operation of the 2 post offices was responsible for two thirds of the Manx Post Office's losses. 
  The Regent Street Post Office had originally been opened in 1887 and after refurbishment and renovation was reopened on 18 March 1987. A postcard was issued at the time (depicted above) which was designed by Colleen Corlett and which was labelled Manx Postal Museum Card No.1 and on the obverse showed a line drawing of the refurbished post office and a Victorian era postbox.The inscription on the reverse indicated that the card had been printed by Bridson And Horrox Ltd. of Douglas.
  The Victorian exterior of the Regent Street post office is constructed with red Roaban brick with dressings of red Yorkshire stone. While it was closed for refurbishment sevices were temporarily moved to a hotel building on the opposite side of Regent Street. Now they will be moved again from the attractive building but this time permanently.
  The Ramsey Post Office had been sited in Court Row until it was reopened on 25 July 2011 after it had moved to the former Court House building in Parliament Street. Outside the front of this attractive but ephemeral post office is an interesting sculpture of 2 seated Vikings playing chess. When the post office moves again in early 2015 it will be sited inside a very uninteresting retail shop as is also the case with the Regent Street post office in Douglas.

Ramsey Post Office, Parliament Street.
  Having recently visited both of these post offices, I feel it is very regrettable that these two splendid post offices should be closed as well as the fact that 19 employees of Isle Of Man Post Office should lose their jobs as a result. As is so often the case with business in the 21st century, the closure of the post offices brings to mind the quip of Oscar Wilde that those people who run the Manx Post Office know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Sculpture of Viking chess players outside Ramsey Post Office.

   Collectors of Manx stamps will not be surprised to read of the extreme financial difficulties experienced by the organisation since it has been obvious for some years from the increasing number of irrelevant stamp issues that the Manx Post Office has been scrambling about in desperation to extract whatever money it can get from its philatelic sales to help reduce its financial losses. It is a pity that the island's philatelic reputation has had to suffer from this aggressive stamp issuing policy but it is true to say that, in recent years, Manx new issue policies have been no more lamentable than those of the postal administrations of the other offshore islands, Jersey Post and Guernsey Post. In 2015 I plan to buy very few of the planned new issues from all three of these islands - I only want to buy stamps which tell me something about the countries which issue them and I feel that Chinese New Year, dragons, Alice In Wonderland and so on do not fulfill my criteria for adding them to my collection and spending a lot of money on them. 

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