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Administration Building within the 1935 Building, Royal Mail Sorting Office

A Grade II Listed Building in Abbey, Bath and North East Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3792 / 51°22'45"N

Longitude: -2.3557 / 2°21'20"W

OS Eastings: 375343

OS Northings: 164524

OS Grid: ST753645

Mapcode National: GBR 0QH.K84

Mapcode Global: VH96M.4L0J

Entry Name: Administration Building within the 1935 Building, Royal Mail Sorting Office

Listing Date: 10 January 2012

Last Amended: 21 January 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1406078

Location: Bath and North East Somerset, BA2

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Electoral Ward/Division: Abbey

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bath

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Summary

The Royal Mail Sorting Office 1935 Building consists of the Administration Building and Sorting Hall, both built in 1935 in an early-C18 Classical style. They were designed by the Ministry of Works architect Henry Seccombe. The Sorting Hall has undergone a number of significant alterations and is not of special interest. The building is now incorporated into a larger post office building to south which was built in the 1980s which is also not of special interest.

Description

MATERIALS: the Administration Building is faced in limestone ashlar and has a large plain hipped roof with slate tiles, the roofs to the wings are hidden behind parapets and the roof to the pediment is clad in lead.

PLAN: the Administration Building is a single-depth, two-storey structure and is divided from the Sorting Hall (not of special interest) to the west by an internal partition wall which is located at the point of the valley between the two roofs.

EXTERIOR: the Administration Building is of two-storeys on a plinth, rising directly from the river bank. It has nine bays in all: three central projecting bays flanked by two recessed bays and a single-bay wing on either end. The outside bays are small wings, and the main block contains a three-bay centrepiece. The ground floor is loftier with sixteen -over-twelve sash windows flanking twenty-over-fifteen examples in the centre, of which three also have round heads. All the second-floor sashes are eight-over-eight. The centre three bays are framed by an attached Roman Doric order of giant pilasters supporting a pediment with the Royal Arms of George V and the date 1935. The west side is attached to the sorting hall, and only the second floor is visible on this side, with metal casement windows.

INTERIOR: the Administration Building's interior retains much of its original plan, although some later partitions have been inserted. There are some four-panel doors with over-door lights above. Many of the other doors have been renewed or replaced. There is a stairwell with a timber handrail at either end of the building. The rooms all have false ceilings.

History

The Administration Building to the east and Sorting Hall to the west were built at the same time in addition to a glass covered vehicle area, and were designed by the Ministry of Works architect Henry Seccombe in 1935. The Administration Building is one of very few buildings in Bath which have an architecturally-ornate elevation facing the River Avon. In the 1980s a new sorting hall with offices above was added to the south and the glass covering of the yard was removed. The original plan of the two-storey Administrative Building has had some minor alterations. The Sorting Hall is on the west side of the Administration Building and has undergone a greater degree of change. The south elevation has been altered, including the loss of large parts of the original walling, with the addition of the 1980s building to this side. The roof, which originally was topped by glass roof lantern that has since been removed, has been raised and is now a more steeply-pitched pyramid. A false ceiling has been inserted and is supported by curved braces encased in plasterboard. It has not been possible to access the roof; however, it appears that some of the early-C20 metal roof girders survive. The addition of the 1980s offices has obscured the south end and the roof has been altered.

Reasons for Listing

The Administration Building within the 1935 Building, Royal Mail Sorting Office, Manvers Street, Bath is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the part of the building which consists of the Administration Building has a well-executed and prominent classical facade which is unusual in a building type which is typically utilitarian;
* Historic interest: designed by Henry Seccombe, a notable architect with strong links to the Post Office through his employment with the Ministry of Works as one of their key architects in the first half the C20;
* Group value: with other listed buildings along the waterfront, including St John’s Church.

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