Memories: The Red Door – will time be erased?

Often times, people walk by a little known symbol without even noticing. To someone else however, the symbol is a reminder of a by-gone time.  Recently, there has been on-going construction on High Street in Southampton where two store fronts, Higgins 100 Mile Market and Thorncrest Outfitters, have long lived through various changes.  One of those changes is described by local historian G. William (Bill) Streeter.


“This morning I went into town to the Post Office. My ritual is to go anywhere on our main street – I do the flag to the churches and circle to have a look at what is happening on both sides of the street.

Well, this morning there were a couple of things that caught my eye, but I will only talk about one of them. The other one is getting enough publicity without me throwing in my two cents.

The one that caught my eye was the Red Door with the letter slot. Why?  Because it brought back memories from 70 plus years ago. Many of us long-time residents will remember that, up until the early 1950’s, the Thorncrest Outfitters store was in fact our post office.

Before my head was as high as the service counter in the post office, one of my little jobs was to go and get the mail on the way home after school. We lived at the corner of Morpeth and Grey Streets, so it was just a slight detour to go down and see if we had any mail. We did not have a mail box so I would go to the General Delivery window and ask, “Is there any mail for STREETER”. Either Mr. Clancy or Mrs. Gillies would go the “S” box pull out a handful of letters and go through them to see if there was anything for us.

On the way in, and the way out, I passed the half door with its slot, using the other half only for entering and exiting. This slot was where you could put a letter through during the times that the post office was closed. And it was the only place in town for doing that.

Mr. Clancy’s nephew, Jim arrived on the scene and became the new Postmaster just before the big move down the street to the BIG new Government Building (corner of Grosvenor and High St.). It housed the Regional Customs and Excise office as well as the big new post office. This was in September of 1953. And our world changed!!

The slot with the word ‘LETTERS’ has stuck in my mind all of these years and every time I walk by I check to make sure that it is still there.

Will the door be gone when the construction is finished?  Will a momento of time be erased?  We Will See.”