The GPO Staff in 1916
It is a curious fact that it was Post Office staff upstairs in the G.P.O. who were the first people to try to stop the Rising on Easter Monday 1916!
Papers preserved in the British Postal Museum and Archive in London record that the telegraph staff and a few unarmed guards barricaded themselves against the rebels and refused to leave their posts until shots were fired at them.
The official reports of Dublin G.P.O. staff give a fascinating insight into the lives of a few Post Office people during that turbulent week.
Here, for instance, is what Sam Guthrie, the Telegraph Superintendent saw as he looked out of the window of the Telephone Room upstairs in the G.P.O.:
''I saw that the windows of the Public Office and other windows looking into Sackville Street were being smashed, the fragments of glass falling on to and covering the pavement, and several members of the Sinn Fein party stood round the public entrance with rifles and revolvers.''
This is the sort of fresh, eye-witness account that is preserved in the Post Office papers and that brings events so vividly to life – you can almost hear the glass breaking! The story of the Rising from this unique Post Office perspective is told in Stephen Ferguson’s book, ‘Business as Usual - GPO Staff in 1916 on sale in the G.P.O. and online at