2

from further decay.
In 1984, the DoE sold the building to
the Post Office and there was universal
support for a proposal to repair the build-
ing and turn it into a Philateic Museum
and Head Post Office for Liverpool. By
the time the project was developed to the
listed building stage, however, a major res-
tructuring of the Post Office resulted in
the creation of Post Office Counters Ltd, a
private company which no longer app-
eared to have the resourses to undertake
such an ambitious development. The res-
ponse of the Post Office Counters Ltd was
to sell the building back to the original
developers who then applied once more
for listed building consent to demolish!
This application was resisted by both the
City Council and English Heritage and the
project continued on the basis of the
developer leasing back the finished build-
ing to the Post Office.
In the final proposition for the build-
ing, there were further changes intro-
duced which were to reduce the quality of
the conversion. One was to introduce a
shopping use on Bold Street end of the
building; secondly the Philatelic Museum
became a Philateic Bureau, and the
traditional ground floor restaurant be-
came a building society office.
Work started on site in 1988 and the
new Post Office opened earlier this year.
An interesting aspect of the listed building
consent negotiations was the insistence by
the City Planning Officer that the ceiling
in the newsroom, which had been removed
in 1912 when a new floor had been inser-
ted, was to be restored to the original
Harrison design. As only a written descrip-
tion of the ceiling existed, Rodney
Hutchinson of the City Planning Depart-
ment prepared a reconstruction based on
the surviving evidence in the Lyceum and
the executed work to the City Club in
Chester. English Heritage at first refused
to agree to this conjectural reconstruction,
since it said it was only 99% certain that it
was correct. The fact that the 1912
alterations had a completely adverse effect
on the Neo-Grec simplicity of the
Harrison design seemed not to enter into
the reasoning. There was considerable
euphoria in the Planning Department
when drawings were discovered in the
archives of the Lyceum which turned out
to be Harrison’s original designs for the
ceiling and were exactly as predicted by the
Department! With a grant from the Urban
Programme and the City Council, the
developer was persuaded to restore the
ceiling, to make the Post Office Hall the
most impressive Post Office in the
North West.


Mike King is conservation Officer with Liverpool
city (ouncil.
CONTEXT 28
23

2