The Old Post Office House at Fox Bay, West Falkland, is the oldest remaining Post Office building in the Falkland Islands, and it is now celebrating its 100th Anniversary. According to official documents a small wireless station was opened at Fox Bay on 1st November 1918 and from then onwards, the wireless operator on duty there also combined the work of the Post Office. This house was built in 1918 for the wireless operator, who then also took over the duties as Postmaster. The Post Office remained in this house until the mid 1980's when it moved into the village store. Later it moved to the office of the Village Agent and that is where it is still located today. The Old Post Office House is one of the historically most important buildings on West Falkland, and many of the older folks in the islands have memories of it being the "official" house on the West, not only for postal matters, but also for registrations of marriages, births and deaths, and many other official duties.
In 2014, Stefan Falkland Heijtz was able to acquire this house, and after several seasons of renovations together with Hugh Osborne, the house has returned to an attractive and more original state. The old Post Office part on the far right has been turned into a Post Office museum and it is the most southerly Postal Museum in the world! The Post Office Museum was officially opened on 8 March 2015 and some 40-50 people, including many children, as well as Falklands Radio, attended.
The Museum is primarily, but not exclusively, showing the history of the Post Office at Fox Bay, and the displays include a counter with postal artifacts, the old wooden rack of mail boxes, mail bags, the old Post Office safe, as well as information about and pictures of the postmarks used at Fox Bay from 1899 onwards, when the first Post Office at Fox Bay was opened. Another section of the Museum shows the development in general of the postal service in the Falkland Islands, from 1852 onwards.
The locals at Fox Bay have been most supportive and interested in what has been going on, and very complimentary about the results. So many have a connection of some form to the house, and they have all loved seeing it being returned to its former glory.
The Museum is open on demand all year around. When Stefan, who is also the Museum Curator, is not in Fox Bay, the Village Agents will be happy to open the Museum and House to anybody who wants to have a look, if they are not too busy with some other duties. And when Stefan is in Fox Bay, the Museum and House is open all the time.
An old picture of the house from the 1940's. The postmark is the type used between 1914 and 1953, and the date November 1st 1918, is the date when the wireless station and the house were formally brought into use.
The Old Post Office Scales of the Fox Bay Post Office. These scales are from the early 1900's or earlier, and were used at the Fox Bay Post Office for many years. They are now part of the Museum display and all the weights are in ounces and pounds. The postmark is the type used between 1968 and 2005, and the date 30 June 1994, was the last date when ounces and pounds were used in the postal service of the Falkland Islands. On 1 July 1994 the metric system was adopted, and weights are now in grams and kilograms instead.
On 21 January 2016 HRH the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence visited the Fox Bay Post Office Museum. The Princess Royal inaugurated the recently erected old Pillar Box (with the Royal Cypher of her great great grandfather King Edward VII) by posting the first piece of mail into it. Both the Princess Royal and her husband signed the visitors book of the Museum and they were very interested in the displays in the Museum and all the work that has been put into the renovation of the entire building. The whole visit was framed by beautiful sunny and warm weather, and was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody. The background shows part of a wooden postmark box which is displayed in the Museum. The postmark is the type used between 2005 and 2017, and the date 21 January 2016, was the date of the Royal Visit.
The Old Post Office and Museum as it looks today after having been restored to its former glory. The Museum is located in the right-hand part of the building, which is where the Post Office used to be. The postmark is the type which is currently in use from 2017, and the date 28 November 2018 is the date of issue of this stamp set.
First Day Cover
This shows the oldest known picture of the Old Post Office House, from 1930, and in front is one of the postal markings hanging on a stand, which is displayed in the Museum.
Text by Stefan Falkland Heijtz
Designer: Bee Design
Printer: Cartor Security Printing
Process: Stochastic lithography
Perforation: 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size: 42 x 28mm
Sheet layout: 10
Release date: 28 November, 2018
Production Co-ordination: Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd