‘Glorified Garden Shed’: Locals Fight to Save Last Postmen’s Huts in Wales

For a time, postmen’s huts dotted the British countryside. Rural postmen would use these simple structures, built of wood and corrugated iron, to rest, recover, and eat during their rounds.

Like the bothies of Scotland and northern England, the huts were basic but included a stove, storage space, and seating. Some had a nearby well. Now, a rural Welsh community is fighting to restore one of only two remaining huts in the country.

Forgotten rural history

Until the mid-20th century, rural postmen’s jobs could be arduous. A round of deliveries might add up to a 35km roundtrip by foot, horseback, or bicycle. It wasn’t until well after World War II that the post office started to provide workers with vans. Motorized transport made doing the rounds much easier, but also signaled the death knell for the postmen’s huts. But 60 years after their last official use, some huts have survived.

Locals believed that a hut in Cwmystwyth, Wales was the last in the country before another was rediscovered in Tregeiriog. The local history society in Cwmystwyth has now raised over $6,000 to restore their hut.

Brython Davies, a member of the history society, told the BBC that the hut might look like a “glorified garden shed” to some but that it was an important part of the region’s history.

“The huts were a vital part of the way in which this well-oiled system used to work, and we felt we needed to preserve it as a part of our rural heritage,” Davies explained.

A time capsule

The restoration work will attempt to restore both the interior and exterior of the huts to “look exactly how it would have done when this hut opened in the 1920s or 30s,” Davies said. “We’ve bought a genuine postman’s bicycle of the correct vintage. By the time we open to the public, we hope to have acquired far more of the paraphernalia that the average postie would have carried during their working day.”

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.