Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Seven Springs, Gloucestershire

Staging post

This tiny building was always a bit of a mystery to me. Passing it years ago, I’d assumed it was a bus shelter, before I reflected that its position at a road junction would not be a convenient stopping-place for a big bus; it’s even less convenient now the junction has been converted to a double roundabout.  So I filed it away mentally, and put it down to the work of some local philanthropist offering shelter to passers-by.

Then, a few months ago I heard a reference to ‘the old parcel house at Seven Springs’. This is what it is, as a little googling confirms: a building where parcels were left and transferred from one carrier to another. The siting at a junction now made more sense, as the traffic passing here could be on the Cirencester to Cheltenham road or the one crossing it, which links Stow-on-the-Wold with Gloucester. In the direction of Stow, it also connects with the road to London.

I’m still not sure how long the parcel office has been there. It seems to be 19th century and the Victoria County History confirms that it was there in 1894. The Gothic openings and thatched roof lend it a picturesque air, although one might have expected it to be walled in Cotswold stone, like many a small bus-shelter in these parts. It must be a long time since it was in use, and one hopes it will survive when the roof reaches a state beyond pleasing decay.

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Postscript: Having looked at this again, I’m convinced that the brickwork is relatively recent and must date to a rebuild of the structure. This is confirmed by a drawing I have located online, showing a tiled roof, a more elaborately carved window opening, and other differences. More research is required.


Hels said...

I have seen a number of these small buildings that turned out to have very different purposes. If it was in the gardens of a large rural home, I would suggest it was for picnics. If it was near a maritime location, the building might have been a martello fort. But a parcel office is a new one! Was it locked between uses?

Eileen Wright said...

How delightful! And such an unusual reason why it was built. Like Hels, I might have thought up a few different usages, but I would never have guessed a parcel house - or even heard of such a thing before. Lovely find. :)

Peter Ashley said...

Love it

Hels said...

I was looking at the Peelers, but now have a look at Harrold Lockup 1825 which came a couple of years earlier. This lock-up was built when the village constable needed temporary imprisonment of offenders, until the crims were taken to face the magistrates in the nearby courthouse.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Hels: If you click on LOCK UP in the tag cloud in the right-hand column, you'll find some good ones. They mostly have stone roofs, to make it easy for a prisoner to escape. Plus often very small windows or no windows at all.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Hels. Sorry bad typibg! I meant to write 'less easy'! Brain in eutral.