Monday, May 7, 2018

Pershore, Worcestershire

Stamp of approval

I suppose quite a few people must have looked at the front Pershore’s Town Hall on the town’s High Street and thought that its neo-Georgian style was not inappropriate for a place with quite a few Georgian brick buildings. It’s well proportioned, substantial without being overwhelming, and seems to have a air of authority about it. But this building hasn’t always been the Town Hall. It was built in 1932 as the Post Office – and the qualities seem just as fitting to its original purpose. When you’re there you can guess the building’s former use from the royal monograms and crowns on the keystones above the doorway.

In the interwar period, and again for a few years after World War II, this kind of neo-Georgian was used widely for town Post Offices. If they hoped to convey such virtues as reliability and authority by using neo-Georgian, the style also went well with Royal Mail’s the signage – now gone, of course, from this particular building – with its Classically inspired lettering.* Now, when many of the GPO’s originally services have been hived off, many Post Offices in major towns are mere counters in branches of the Co-op or W H Smith. In such a context, Post Offices like Pershore’s seem to come from another world.

It’s good that this example has found another role. It would be a shame to loose that neat Flemish bond brickwork, all those glazing bars (especially the ones on the ground floor, with the central window subtly different from those flanking it), the segmentally headed dormers, the elaborate tops to the doorways with their carved keystones. I’m sure most Pershore residents give the building their stamp of approval.

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* There is an example of the lettering in a previous piece I wrote about Post Offices, here.


Jenny Woolf said...

My first thought when i saw the picture was "post office"... i knew one that was very similar. Its now used as a sorting office for the region, i believe, which is a waste of its high street location.

Stephen Barker said...

The use of Neo-Georgian style for public buildings in the inter war period has produced not unattractive buildings that blend with older neighbours. The Post Office in Uppingham on The Square is an attractive example.

It has been much derided because it is seen as backward looking at a time when Modernism was coming to the fore. As with the visual arts Britain seemed to be lagging behind the latest developments in Europe and America. I suspect that they will be more appreciated as time passes as a continuation of a style that dates back to the second half of the Seventeenth Century.