The 7 February 2011 was a day to remember when our Shop and Post Office gained Community Shop status. That means it is owned and run by people in our community for the benefit of our community.
This was achieved by raising a fantastic amount of money from members of our generous community via a share scheme. We also received grants from the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that provides advice and support for communities, the Wates Foundation, Surrey Community Action, Surrey County Council and Dunsfold Parish Council. The Shop is Dunsfold’s only remaining shop. If there had been others in the village, it would not have had the support of the community or the Plunkett Foundation to whom we are very grateful.
There has been a Post Office and village store in Dunsfold in some shape or form for many years. The Post Office was opened in July 1852! By 1878 it was being run by John Hoar who, being a very busy chap, was also a “farmer, butcher and grocer”. By 1891, Mrs Emma Hoar had taken over and one year later it became a branch of the Savings Bank. The telegraph opened in 1893! By 1913 it had changed hands again and was run by Eli James Conway who was also a grocer.
We have all of these industrious people to be grateful to as we carry on in their footsteps.
The location of the Post Office hasn’t always been the same! In 1872 it was located in either Mill Lane or Oak Tree Lane (the map is not precise enough to be certain which one). By 1897, it was at “Country House Cottage”, a few doors along from its present location. It is still shown there on a 1920 map but moved between then and 1955.
Dunsfold Post Office in 1955
Mike Bayliss recalls that back in the mid-1960s, ‘the Post Office and the drapers-cum-general store were kept by Mr Erricker’. Now Dunsfold has only one shop but, according to Mike, back in the 1960s, there were at least four. (For more memories of Dunsfold shops, see http://www.francisfrith.com/dunsfold/dunsfold-village-stores_memory-249911.)
In 1982 Tony and Sue Bowden bought the village shop. Their daughter Anne-Marie remembers it always being full of friendly people – “If you are reading this and you live in Dunsfold, you are very lucky as you have some wonderful people living around you and a great village shop”.
When Tony and Sue wanted to retire, the shop was put up for sale. The rest as they say is “history”!
If you have any information about the history of the Shop or Post Office, please contact us.