Eliza Hutchings kept the Post Office at Townsend
They said she used to wear a wig and the children used to catch it onto the scales so that when she bent down to weigh her wig went up. She did have a very faithful dog that barked. You opened the shop door – I was very young, only a bit of a toddler – the dog’d be barking, and she would suddenly come in, y’know, tomorrow would do, thank you. Sometimes the dog used to bark, but she wasn’t always attending the shop.
You can still see where the door was in Burr Street (at Pollards), up the little steps.
And what did she sell?
Did she have a general store as well as the Post Office?
I don’t know about any quantity of that, because I wasn’t very old. She would sell three boxes of Red Tarmasis (matches) for a penny.
And ‘course we boys used to have a key. Used to pull the tops off the matches and bang it against the wall. Lovely bang – hold a key, put these matches in, then bang it against the wall.
Maybe that’s how all the fires started?
I shouldn’t think so, that was fully under control, because the explosion was inside the key. If people lost any keys belonging to their padlocks, those are the ones that got burst, because they wouldn’t stand up to the explosion at times.
Further information about Eliza Hutchings tells of her wearing a ginger wig on Sundays and a black wig for the rest of the week. Also she took the amount of four pence to mate any folks’ animals i.e. goats, rabbits. All was put on the account.