Hook Post Office

Article Number Eight in Hook History Society’s Lockdown Series.

In this issue we turn the clock back to the day the village Post Office was opened in Hook and hear of the important role it played in the lives of the villagers be counted on one hand.

The article is by Sue Jones, (nee Thomas) who was brought up in the Post Office in West Hook Road, now the Old Post Office. Her family had charge of the Post Office from the day it opened in 1923.

She writes: The former PO is part of the oldest set of buildings in the village built about 450 years ago. My grandmother was  brought up at the adjoining farmhouse,  the eldest of  seven children, and my storey unfolds as she became the  villages’ first Postmistress.

I attended  Hook School  and Taskers High School for Girls as my mother had done before me. Next came Trinity College Carmarthen teacher training where I met my husband, Alun, of over fifty years.

First post was at Top Barn Street, Haverfordwest, formerly a School for Boys but admitted girls a few years before. I was only the third female teacher and my head, J J Owens, had previously been my head in Hook.  On marriage we moved to Warwickshire to teach in a small mining village.

A year later Alun was appointed as a science teacher in Malta, in a naval secondary school. I became a supply teacher and taught in all the services primary schools. Sadly, the Maltese and British governments fell out resulting in our return to U.K. midway through our tour. On returning  to Hook we  lived  in the Post Office whilst we built our bungalow..

I spent three years teaching in Waterston school prior to coming to Hook School where I taught for 21 years before retirement.


I was lucky enough to be brought up at the Post Office in West Hook road….now rebranded the Old Post Office. I lived there with my parents and maternal grandparents and I should point out that I am quite a rare breed for that generation with a mother from Hook and a father from Llangwm as the villages were so different, and in those days, just did not get on. 

My grandmother, Sarah Ann Warlow, (nee Havard), was appointed the first postmistress in Hook in November 1932. She was told in her letter of appointment that she could start the business in her front room as long as she had a table with a locked draw!

My mother, Eva, at 18 had just left Taskers High School for Girls and it was she who learned to run the Post Office, while grandmother was nominally the post mistress. Pictured are Sarah Ann Warlow with husband John and three of her childre. Elsie and Willie pose for the camera and baby Lena is in her mother’s arms.

A purpose-built post office was then erected with a long wooden counter with numerous draws for all the things needed.

The Post Office was warmed in winter with a paraffin stove which doubled up as a cooker………..often there was a saucepan of broth, stew, beetroot, suet puddings or a Christmas pudding boiling away.

Customers would always ask what the lovely smell of cooking was!

From the time I was quite small I was encouraged to serve in the PO. First it was just stamps; then postal orders but by the mid-teens I was helping out with pensions and family allowances. I do remember for a long-time stamps cost tuppence half penny and the uproar when they went to three pence, which is just over a penny in today’s money.

Hook Post Office


Apart from the kiosk, which was then opposite the bus shelter in West Hook road ours was the only phone in the village. I recall being woken up on a number of occasions by loud knocking in the early hours of the morning with people wanting to use the phone. It was mostly farmers wanting the vet as one of their animals was having difficulty giving birth or people urgently needing the doctor.

The times I loved best was when mothers took their babies to the PO to be tenderly weighed on the parcels parcel scales.

My mother should have had a career as a counsellor as people came to her with secrets and problems and were always carefully guarded……………a favourite saying was………”never criticise until you’ve walked the path”.

Hook Post Office

On many occasions she could have lost her job as she helped out families who were struggling financially by advancing either pension or family allowance. When one large family was at risk of being evicted she and a friend organised a village collection to pay of their arrears.

After grandmother’s death in 1968 she became postmistress in her own right. I have to admit I did not aspire to be the third postmistress in the family instead opting for a career as a teacher and spending my last 21 working years in Hook village school.  Pictured is Mrs Eva Thomas as she closes the old post office for the last time having held the position of postmistress for a little over 50 years. Her husband Llewellyn Thomas was a well-known Pembrokeshire journalist.

One of my mother’s duties was to deliver telegrams when she would leave the PO and set off on her trusty bike in all weathers. These were mostly “day old chicks being delivered to the station” and reminding the purchaser that they had to be collected on time and there were also greetings telegrams for weddings and other festive occasions.

Every Friday night was doing “the stock”, balancing the books when she was not to be disturbed…….every now and again Post Office inspectors would arrive unannounced.

Towards the end of her  ”reign” I had married  I had married and after returning from teaching in Malta and my husband and I spent two years living back at the post office while our bungalow was being built.

We both helped out in the post office but by now the authorities were much more strict and we both had to sign the Official Secrets Act before we could serve…………….a far cry from the days when a table with a locked draw was all you needed.

SUSAN JONES (nee Thomas)


West Hook is undoubtedly the oldest habitable part of the village and records indicate that there was a significant house there 450 to 500 years ago. Originally it was a farmhouse the occupants of which were obviously a well to do family.

The original premises were divided into four or five cottage style premises although all have been much improved to meet the demands of a modern age. The Old Post Office of which Mrs Jones has written about was at one time part of the outbuildings of the farmhouse and still has part of the original building with its walls two and three feet thick.

The old Post Office started life as a granary

A prominent and much photographed aspect of the original farmhouse is a splendid Flemish chimney.......   one of two in the village. The other being at the lower end of Lower Quay Road.

There is a lengthy description of this area of Hook in the Society’s recently published WHERE THE RIVER BENDS. Copies are still available for purchase.

Hook Post Office