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“People always come in and say this is the best post office in the world” - Holt Vinyl Vault post office sells records and plays The Rolling Stones while people buy stamps

11:16 17 June 2014

Holt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Holt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

With 1970s memorabilia, thousands of rock and roll records and Neil Young music playing, the post office in Holt is unique.

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Holt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYHolt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

It is the work of postmaster Andrew Worsdale, whose battle to keep one of the few remaining independent post offices open has seen him combine it with his love of music.

While customers at the building on Cromer Road can buy stamps, post letters and apply for passports, they can also spend hours rummaging through the stacks and piles of records.

Mr Worsdale, 53, who has owned the post office for four years, applied for a music licence and gradually transformed the building into a haven for record enthusiasts, playing the Beatles, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

And from novice enthusiasts searching for a £1 bargain to experienced collectors rooting out a rare £120 The Who original, the vault is a haven for music lovers. Mr Worsdale said: “People always come in and say this is the best post office in the world.

Holt Vinyl Vault and Post Office.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYHolt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

“They love the retro look of it and its original features – there are not many like this anymore.”

Records line the walls in the main room and through a vinyl-tape curtain a smaller office stacked high with records leads to the original vault, now home to thousands of rare finds.

And there are not many post offices where a reggae record is tucked behind the counter between boxes of stamps and envelopes, or a shoe from the 1970s stands on a shelf by the weighing scales.

Mr Worsdale, who lives in Sheringham with his wife Jane, 59, began to turn his love of vinyl into a business in Sheringham, where he ran a smaller outreach post office, which was closed down.

Holt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale's shoes from the 1970's on display.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYHolt Vinyl Vault and Post Office. Owner Andrew Worsdale's shoes from the 1970's on display. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

And when he took over the Holt building, he was soon forced to find another income to keep the post office open.

He said: “When I got this one I didn’t want to be closed down again so I thought, what could I do?

“There wasn’t much scope for other kinds of retail businesses, so I thought I would go back to what I know best.”

After being forced to make the staff redundant 18 months ago, Mr Worsdale has been running the post office and vinyl business alone, working 10-hour days.

Post office pop

And in-keeping with Andrew Worsdale’s record shop theme, here is our list of post office songs.

■ The Letter – Joe Cocker

■ Please Mr Postman – The Carpenters

■ Return to Sender – Elvis Presley

■ Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder

■ Postman’s Lament – Acker Bilk

■ Metal Postcard – Siouxsie & The Banshees

■ The Postman Always Rings Twice – movie theme

■ Letter In The Mail – James Taylor

■ Another Postcard – Barenaked Ladies

■ Anything by the Singing Postman

■ Letter from America – The Proclaimers

He said: “I work incredibly fast because I have no choice and my queue times compare quite well.

“Once people have come in they see they do get a good service and most people like the idea of a post office being independent.”

But while visitors get a unique experience at the Holt Vinyl Vault, Mr Worsdale said it was important to offer a traditional service.

He said: “You have got to get to know your customers. For example, you need to realise who has just lost their husband so you can try to find a consoling word.”

Have you started an unusual business? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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