• Our Beautiful Post Office

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    28 August 2015

    I had the huge pleasure of joining in with the official opening of Ashburton’s new Post Office and Library last week. A wonderful combined facility based at the top end of St Lawrence Lane, right in the heart of the town. The arrival of the library at its new location follows a long and circular journey. The original library opened in 1915 and was housed at the back of St Lawrence Chapel that had, by then, served as the home to the local grammar school for half a millennium. When the grammar was lost to the chapel in 1938 so the library relocated to the back of the town hall. A hundred years later and it is back roughly where it began just over the road from its starting point. The new library, of course, has all the modern facilities that one would expect including the automated book check out and return. It can also request books from the other libraries across the county and so has a vast collection upon which to draw – in a relatively small space it packs a punch. Add in internet access, a cash point machine that provides a return to the local community on every transaction, an enterprise that is training an apprentice plus all the services available at a bustling post office branch and it is easy to see why it is already proving hugely popular. That these two great facilities should have been combined at all comes as a direct result of the vision and drive of Postmasters Stuart and Jackie Rogers who put the idea to the local community when it became clear that the library might not otherwise survive. Where many might have just bemoaned the possible closure of a local library, Stuart and Jackie’s approach was to side-step the sound and the fury and to reach out to involve others in finding positive solutions – to see the challenge as an opportunity. The Friends of Ashburton Library swung in behind them with local businesses like Glendining (who never cease to amaze me with their wholehearted and generous support of our town) pitching in too. Despite many bumps along the road, the new facility including the internal conversion of the building and installation of smart new serving counters stands today as a testament to their collective endeavour. At the opening, speeches were made. Mayoral and Portreeve chains were rattled. And another wonderful advance for Ashburton officially launched. Ashburton is, as ever, thriving and well worth a visit. Its excellent antique stores, Nick’s Fish Deli, Ella’s Artisan Bakery, Best Cellars wine, the deli and kitchen shop in North Street, the butcher in East Street, Moorish in West Street for lunch – all within a matter of a couple of minute’s walk – make this community a wonderful place to visit. And if you do come – please make sure you don’t miss out on our latest star attraction – right in the heart of the town – Ashburton’s new Post Office and Library.