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The Jam Tin Post Office

Postcard to Alvaston, BC
Postcard stamped by the Alvaston Post Office.

Recently Canada Post announced extensive changes to the Canadian mail system, specifically by introducing more community mail boxes. For we older folk, those community mailboxes hearken back to historic mail services.

Winfield’s first official post office was named Alvaston by the first postmaster Arthur Chatterton who hailed from Alvaston in Derbyshire, England. The Alvaston post office was more than half a mile off the main route through the valley so “residents were more likely to use the ‘Jam Tin’ post office, where the Vernon-Kelowna mail coach picked up and dropped off letters.”

Jam Tin PO
Mrs. Gray and son Art at the Alvaston Jam Tin Post Office, 1909.

“The site consisted of a packing case by the side of the road, with a jam tin that contained a small stock of stamps. Ingoing and outgoing mail from Alvaston was placed in the packing case, left by, or to be picked up by, the mail stage. Users helped themselves to the stamps they needed and left the payment in the tin on the honour system.”

Source: Taylor, Jim. “Alvaston”. Spirit of Lake Country Heritage and Culture. Lake Country, BC: Lake Country Museum and Archives, 2011.

Photograph: Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society. Click to enlarge.


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