Poste restante

Former Head Post Office, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield (1993)

Former Head Post Office, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield (1993)

Sheffield was a town that thought it was a village, until 1893, when it became a city that thought it was a town.

Indeed, the first impressive piece of civic planning in the centre of Sheffield was Fitzalan Square, which grew from street clearance in the 1880s and is dominated by the baroque bulk of the former Post Office, built in 1910 to the designs of the Office of Works architect, Walter Pott.

This imposing place in which to buy a stamp closed in 1999, and three successive developers have failed to find a way of financing a new use:

Meanwhile, the urban explorers have kept an eye on the place, and their posts show that while most of the interiors were functional, the public spaces and the main staircase deserved to be kept: and

The latest word is that this fine but mouldering building is to become a college for overseas students with 18-storey residential tower on the vacant plot behind:

If another high-rise building in the city-centre is the price of keeping Pott’s Edwardian splendour I think it’s worth paying.

Meanwhile, within a couple of minutes’ walk of Fitzalan Square, the Old Town Hall and the United Gas Light Company Offices, both listed, stand idle and neglected, and two fine post-war department stores, the former Walsh’s and the Co-op’s Castle House are in an uneasy state of transition.

And the City Planning Committee and the Secretary of State have waved through the demolition of the Edwardian wing of Jessop’s Hospital – which is another story…


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  1. Pingback: Old Town Hall at risk | Mike Higginbottom Interesting Times

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