World's oldest post office faces closure after more than 300 years in business

The world's oldest post office is on the brink of closure after more than 300 years.

Sanquhar post office in Dumfries and Galloway opened its doors in 1712, and is recognised by Guinness World Records as the oldest post office in the world.

It has become an unlikely tourist attraction for stamp collectors, as well as being used by elderly people who do their banking there.

However, the establishment faces being closed down as its owners plan to retire.

Then and now: The post office in Sanquhar, Scotland (Pictures SWNS)

Its 307 years in operation mean it currently holds the oldest post office title ahead of a branch in Stockholm, Sweden, which opened in 1720.

The post office bounced back from the brink of closure in 2015, when it was taken over by Dr Manzoor Alam, 77, and his wife Nazra, 67.

But the couple are now planning to retire and are hopeful a new owner can be found after they step down in May 2020.

Mrs Alam said: “It’s breaking my heart but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. If my health was better I’d carry on but I’ve got to call it a day now - it’s really sad.

The Sanquhar post office in Dumfries and Galloway is the oldest in the world (Picture: SWNS)
The oldest post office in the world in Sanquhar, Scotland - on the right- pictured in 1860 (Picture: SWNS)
Nazra Alam, manager of Sanquhar Post Office in Dumfries and Galloway (Picture: SWNS)

“It served the community well. It’s up for sale and I’ve put in my notice with the Post Office. At the end of May should be my last working day. What happens between now and then we’ll just take it as it comes.

“I’d hate to think it’ll shut down and become a supermarket or something.”

The branch is on the market for £275,000 and comes with a three-bedroom cottage.

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The post office is popular in Sanquhar, which has a population of about 2,000 people and only has one bank.

The branch is also an attraction for tourists, post enthusiasts and stamp collectors, who seek to have their letters hand stamped at the world’s oldest post office.

Chairman of Sanquhar and District Community Council, Duncan Close, said: “We were been in this situation five years ago. It changed hands and was reasonably secure for a bit.

Postman Bob Morrison at Sanquhar Post Office in Dumfries and Galloway (Picture: SWNS)
Matthew Hogart, postmaster from 1908 to 1983, and postman George Stoddart at Sanquhar Post Office (Picture: SWNS)

“We called a public meeting to discuss the matter and see what we can do. We will do everything we can to ensure the place does find a buyer.

“We’re sorry to see them go but it’s sad at the same time to think we could lose our post office.”

Andrew Wood, SNP councillor for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “It’ll be a sad day if it does close.

“What we’re finding in a lot of rural places like Sanquhar is they’re struggling to keep their post offices open. They’re a lifeline for the elderly.

“It’s not just about collecting their pensions, it’s about meeting other people.”

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