PUBLISHED: 15:02 29 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:04 05 October 2010

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

save our Post Offices campaign 21.2.08

THE Advertiser is running a campaign to save the five sub post offices in the East End that are threatened with closure following cuts proposed by the Post Office. A fifth of the 25 outlets across Tower Hamlets are under threat.

By Michael Parker

THE East London Advertiser is running a campaign to save the five sub post offices in the East End that are threatened with closure following cuts proposed by the Post Office.

A fifth of the 25 outlets across Tower Hamlets are under threat.

They are at:

75 Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, E1

Watney Street, Shadwell, E1

Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow, E3

Heylyn Square, Bow, E3; and

The Quarterdeck, Millwall, E14.

You can join the Advertiser's online campaign to help save them by signing here:


Post Office chiefs are doubling their 'minimum distance' to the nearest alternative from half-a-mile to a mile.

That's a good 20-minute walk. The elderly and the disabled, those less able to get around, would be the hardest hit.

Closing sub post offices would inconvenience East Enders, mean job losses for staff and loss of passing trade for nearby shops.

The proposal is part of a cull of 2,500 branches nationwide, which the Post Office hopes will help stem its losses of £4 million a week.

London would be hardest hit, losing 169 branches and 11 larger Crown post offices.

Tower Hamlets council leader Denise Jones, London Assembly member John Biggs and London Mayor Ken Livingstone have all attacked the proposals.

Cllr Jones says: "Our post offices need investment, not cuts and closures."

John Biggs says: "I recognise the vital role the Post Office plays in the social and economic life of communities."

Ken Livingstone has vowed to bring about a judicial review into the decision.

Tower Hamlets Opposition Respect leader Abjol Miah and fellow councillors have been out campaigning in Watney Market and Whitechapel, two sub post offices on the 'hit list.'

Cllr Miah said: "Our communities need to have this essential service within easy reach.

"Pensioners and mothers with young children can't be expected to travel a mile to get their money."

Opposition Tory Cllr Shirley Houghton, battling to save The Quarterdeck outlet on Millwall's Barkantine estate in her constituency, said: "The Barkantine is one of the few places left on the here on the Isle of Dogs that really has a community.

"People get up, go to work, get fish and chips, get their shopping, meet up in the Tooke Arms pub. Our post office is a vital part of that."

The Post Office is conducting a six-week public consultation until April 2 into the proposed closures.

Do you think these sub post officers, or others under threat, should be closed? Join the Advertiser's online campaign. See our petition:


You can also tell the Post Office what you think. Jot a line to Anita Turner, Network Development Manager, c/o National Consultation Team, Freepost Consultation Team;

Or by phone on 08457-223344;

Or emailing



The sub post office at 75, Whitechapel Road, is bustling. But few queuing for the two counters inside realise they may have only a few weeks to appreciate the convenience before it closes.

Sharon White, 38, uses it for all sorts of things: "Yesterday I came here for my passport application and today I've coming to pay the charge for my council car parking space."

The larger Whitechapel Post Office further along Whitechapel Road for her is always too busy. She found a queue of 40 there the week before.

Former Tower Hamlets Mayor Doros Ullah pops in from his office nearby to post a present in a large jiffy bag.

"If this closes it will affect the community enormously," he says. "It's even open on Saturdays, a great service."

Another customer, Ahmed Sabir, 24, clutches several letters and packets as he informs you: "This is one of the few offices that stay open till 6pm and at the weekends, too. Closing it would be a real pain."


At Watney Street in Shadwell, where the queue filled the tiny sub post office, film-maker Julian Cole, 45, spends much of his time mailing his work to film festivals around the world.

"I'm here a lot, and they often keep post for me too if I'm not in," he reveals.

"Otherwise I'd have to go to the Whitechapel sorting office. That's difficult for me, now the East London Line is down. For pensioners, it's going to be a disaster."


Business at The Quarterdeck in Milwall's Barkantine Estate, on the Isle of Dogs, was quiet. A few customers braved the windswept parade of shops.

The nearest alternatives are in Canary Wharf, across the Millwall Dock, or at the end of Westferry Road, a brisk 20-minute walk to the other end of the Isle of Dogs.


Even when Devons Road sub post office is shut, you can still use its cashpoint which really is a 'hole in the wall', accessed through a neat square 'cut out' in the shutter, which would be another service lost if the branch is axed.

Sub Postmaster Sajid Massid, 45, runs the branch with his wife and three children, where he has been for 20 years.

"This is my bread and butter," he tells you. "I haven't thought about what I'll do if we close. I haven't absorbed it at all."


Customers at the Heylyn Square are almost in shock when told it could close.

Lily Smith, 49, gasps: "They can't close this! Where else would we go?

"I'm in every week to pay my bills and there are old people here who couldn't get much further."

One of the old folk is Joseph Grodinski, 84, Lily's neighbour in nearby Sheffield Square.

He is housebound, apart from his slow, difficult Tuesday trip to the post office that has been his 'lifeline.'

"I'd be lost without it," he says. "It's far too far for me to travel to Stroudley Walk (in Bromley-by-Bow).

"I have been disabled nearly 10 years and get everything I need from this post office. I pay bills here, pick up a TV Times and draw my pension."

He adds: "There are lots of other pensioners like me using this branch. They'd be hit hard too."

IT consultant John Haggerty, 58, sends important documents by recorded delivery from this branch.

"It won't affect me much because I'm a bit younger and fitter," he points out.

"But it's a matter of principle for me that it stays open, because many others aren't."


You can join the Advertiser's online campaign to help save them by signing here:


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