COME with me back to the days when most villages had their own shop and post office and many had their own police station too.

To today’s young people it would be a weird world where the internet did not exist, neither did mobile phones, the only takeaway was fish and chips and a run-in with the local copper was something you certainly remembered.

Thanks to the efforts of marvellous local retailers, who are obviously not out to get rich, and some community enterprises the village shop is still hanging on but the local police station is now a very endangered species, if not virtually extinct.

No longer does the village bobby cycle stoically down the lanes on his bike or even park up in his Panda car waiting to catch scrumpers in the fruit orchards.

Life has moved on and we are not necessarily the better for it.

A reminder of how things used to be comes in these images taken from a book called Worcestershire at Work (in old photographs) by local historian Ray Jones who lives in a village himself, Hallow, near Worcester, to be precise.

Ray is a local businessman and historian who was born in Worcester and went to the Royal Grammar School.

He has written and published many books about the city and has also carried out extensive research into both local history and the origins of Worcester porcelain.

But back to POs and policemen around 100 years ago.

Anyone running a village post office knows you have to be a bit inventive to make ends meet and that’s long been the case.

In the 1920s Kate Wall, who was the postmistress at Upper Sapey, decided to offer for sale postcards of her business in an effort to engender extra cash.

Her customer base only consisted of 280 souls, all of whom presumably knew only too well what the village post office looked like, but a century later the photo has gained a fascination it didn’t hold then.

The same applies to the 1925 image of The Stores at Abberley, again a self-published effort by the proprietor George Billingham.

From 1912 comes a picture of Hanley Castle post office when William Tarling was the 'sub-postmaster and grocer' and also Cradley Stores, a particularly attractive property in the village in the lee of the Malvern Hills.

But most nostalgic of all must be the 1915 photograph of Welland police station.

To one side stands the village bobby with his bike.

In this case he appears to carry the stripes of a sergeant on his uniform and he is, as tradition has it, a very large man.

A size handy in an era when most rural coppers faced situations on their own, for there were no radios or phones to summon assistance.

While propped up against the front gate are recruiting posters for the Worcestershire Regiment calling local lads to enrol for the First World War.

Many did and many never saw their home village again.