By LOUISE THOMASON
For 113 years the post office at Bixter has been operated by a man named Creighton Williamson. Or rather three men – grandfather, father and son.
But when the latest in the family line received an award this week for 30 years of service in the Post Office it was in the knowledge that he has another year to go to equal his father’s record – and another 22 to equal his grandfather’s. So, despite the accolade, he is carrying on.
Bixter’s mail has been looked after by the Williamson family since 1895, when Mr Williamson’s grandfather, Creighton Gilbert Williamson, began as sub-postmaster, working 52 years in the job at a time when the mail came mostly by boat.
With the advance of roads and motor cars the business was moved to a new location in 1909 with the building of what is now the Bixter shop. After his retirement Creighton Gilbert’s son, Creighton James, took over and after 31 years handed the position over to Mr Williamson and his sister Marlene.
Prior to getting the job of sub-postmaster in 1978, Mr Williamson assisted his parents, helping at the counter for example. “I was about 15 when I started helping out in the shop first, and I sometimes delivered telegrams, but that’s when I was a bairn,” he said.
With each of the Williamson men working at least 30 years, the job has seen many changes and the post office that his grandfather once ran is very different now.
Advances in technology have seen horses and carts replaced by cars and the proliferation of telephones in homes as well as, in recent years, the internet, means the post office is no longer the hub of communication it once was.
“The biggest change is probably the computerised systems. Now there’s no ledger to write up and it’s easier to keep track of stock and keep down on work,” he said.
Although he said it is a “bit of a shame” no-one is able to up the family tradition of working in the Post Office, Mr Williamson said he has “been quite happy” in his position of sub-postmaster.
“I enjoy serving the public and it’s been very interesting. I always try to help and do what I can,” he said.
Mr Williamson was awarded for his 30 years of service with a certificate form Lerwick post office branch manager Mark Rosie at a presentation on Tuesday. He and Marlene will continue to work in the Post Office.