The world’s oldest post office facing prospect of closure after 317 years

The current owners of Sanquhar post office, which was first opened in 1712, have been forced to sell up.

The world’s oldest post office, which has been operating in Sanquhar, Scotland, for more than 300 years, faces an uncertain future.

Current owner and stamp collector, Manzoor Alam, and his wife, Nazra, have been forced to put the business and its accompanying cottage on the market due to ill health.

The Alams are ‘heartbroken’ to leave the post office, and are concerned that if a buyer cannot be found its rich history could be lost.

‘It was my husband who was always the one most interested in stamps and the postal service but over the last few years of working here it has grown on me too,’ said Mrs Alam. ‘I have loved every minute working here.’

Sanquhar Post Office  has been in continuous service since 1712, but looks set to shut. Photo: Getty

Sanquhar Post Office has been in continuous service since 1712, but looks set to shut. Photo: Getty

The couple are the post office’s 16th postmasters, and if they become the last, the title will fall to a Stockholm branch, which opened in 1720.

Dumfries and Galloway councillor, Andrew Wood, said lots of rural areas were struggling to keep their post offices open. He said it would be a ‘sad day’ if the business folded.

‘I was wondering if the community could arrange a buyout but it shouldn’t come down to that, he said. ‘We’re a wealthy country and should be able to have them in good-sized towns.’

The property is on the market for £275,000, and includes a three-bed cottage with two bathrooms, a large living room, and garden with outbuildings.

Agent Humberstones suggests the outbuilding could be a holiday let, tea room or postal museum, as Mr Alam had planned.

‘My ambition is to promote the rich heritage of the past by establishing a postal museum — the only one in Scotland — and combining it with a modern business, securing this wonderful post office for future generations,’ he had said when he took on the business.

Sanquhar and district community council has called a public meeting to discuss the matter.