150th anniversary of the Gibraltar Post Office

Monday 1st January 2007 marks the 150 th anniversary of the creation of the Gibraltar Post Office. It was on that day that the two previous postal services in Gibraltar were amalgamated under the control of Mr Edmund Creswell. They were the Packet Agency (that only handled maritime mail) and the Colonial Secretary?s Overland Post Office (that
handled mail received at and despatched from Gibraltar by land).
The suggestion that all Gibraltar?s postal services should be offered from a single location came from Edmund Creswell, and was accepted by London. This brought to an end years of confusion, particularly for visitors to Gibraltar. There was no organised delivery of mail, as we know it today, in 1857. Letters by and large had to be collected in
person. Frequently, persons went to enquire whether letters had arrived for them at the Packet Agency when in fact the letters had been lying uncollected for a while at the Overland Post Office, or vice versa. Sometimes, letters were returned to sender as undeliverable because the addressee ? usually a visitor to Gibraltar off a passing
steamer ? had only called at one post office without realising that there were two post offices in Gibraltar.
In order to provide proper accommodation for postal business, work began at once on building a Post Office for Gibraltar. It is the building that is still in use today for that
purpose at 104 Main Street, and the building was finished and inaugurated in September 1858.
?The creation of the Gibraltar Post Office was the first stage in the development of a comprehensive postal service for Gibraltar,? said Joe Holliday, Minister with responsibility for postal services. ?At that stage, Gibraltar was very much a colony and
so control of our postal services was vested in the Postmaster General of England. All the profits generated by the Post Office were retained by England. It was not until 1886 that Gibraltar assumed control of our postal services. This happened at the time that Miss Margaret Creswell was Postmistress. She was the daughter of Edmund Creswell,
and it could be said that she completed the job commenced by her father. Our postal services have come a long way since 1857, and the Royal Gibraltar Post Office today is proud of its efficiency and the wide range of services that it provides its clients.?
To mark this 150 th anniversary, the Post Office will be using a special slogan postmark during the course of 2007 on letters posted in Gibraltar.