The Post Office’s letter sorting office was once in the GPO but when the building was destroyed in the 1916 rebellion and later reconstructed, the sorting office was not reinstated. Instead sorting was done in a building in Pearse Street. When that building was deemed unsuitable, a new office was built in Sheriff Street and many Dublin postal staff will remember working in that building. Students too, who maybe got a job at Christmas, will remember its cavernous interiors, the mail sorting divisions, the machinery that sometimes worked and the loading platforms where the vans and lorries drew up.
Sheriff Street is greatly changed now and the IFSC has taken over from the Post office as the dominant employer in the locality but memories of the sorting office remain in the minds of the many staff – postmen, drivers, sorters, clerks etc. – who worked there from the late 1960s till it closed in the 1990s.
The “social” used to be a great thing for many firms and organisations. It might take the form of a sports day, an excursion or a dinner dance. Like many other big businesses, the Post Office catered for a wide range of staff interests and football, drama and golf societies were run by active members of staff who devoted a lot of time and commitment to them.
The dinner dance was a particularly popular occasion, a chance to get to know colleagues outside the day job and enjoy a meal and entertainment together. This photograph shows a Post Office dinner dance from 1963 and is from the collection of the photographer John Walsh who catalogued much of the daily life of the Liberties half a century ago. His grand-daughter has been sharing many lovely photographs on facebook. That’s where I saw this one and it’s certainly worth taking a look at her page. Copyright remains with the family.
It’s strange the things which evoke a special response: take this green letter box, for instance, on loan to Dublin airport from the An Post Museum & Archive. Is it the green colour, the sight of a familiar object on an urban streetscape, its function as a means of communication or just plain old nostalgia? Whatever the reason, lots of people like to linger beside it as they make their way through the airport.