Insight & Analysis

Couple leave Florida to take over world’s oldest post office!

Published: Sep 2023

An avid stamp collector and his wife have relocated from Florida to Scotland to run the world’s oldest post office. The post office opened in 1712 and according to Guinness World Records, is the oldest in operation.

Red post box built into a brick wall

Barry Ford and his wife have taken over the Sanquhar Post Office in Dumfries and Galloway, which has been operating continuously for a total of 311 years.

Mr Ford, who is originally from Lincolnshire, and his wife Mary originally from North Lanarkshire, had been living and working in Florida for the last 20 years when they first heard about the sale of the post office almost three years ago.

The couple were hoping to move back to the UK as both their elderly mothers were in poor health and buying the post office seemed like a great opportunity. They are now the seventeenth operators of the world’s oldest post office.

The pair have also discovered Mrs Ford’s ancestors were from the nearby Muirkirk area in East Ayrshire.

Mr Ford said: “It is amazing that I have gone from living in Florida for 20 years, where the history is mostly 19th to 20th century, to becoming the postmaster for the world’s oldest post office which dates back over 300 years. I was an avid stamp collector as a child and to discover that Mary’s ancestors were from the local area was fate.

“Mary and I are very excited and humbled to be serving this community, and we also look forward to welcoming tourists from both near and afar who come to Sanquhar to sample the delights this vibrant community has to offer.

I am also proud to be this post office’s seventeenth postmaster, which isn’t that many considering its long history.”

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