Moving Architecture

Post-riot General Gordon Place showing burnt-out Great Harry pub and red-brick Victorian post office

General Gordon Place, with post office on the left

The demolition work along Grand Depot Road for the new Tesco’s complex quite often makes me pause as I walk down into Woolwich. I find the machine currently pecking away at the 60’s-style office block quite mesmerizing, and I’m usually not the only one standing watching its progress. I wouldn’t mourn the office block, but it always seemed a shame that the red brick Victorian post office, on the left in the post-riot photograph above, couldn’t be retained.

However some of it is to be preserved according to a new planning application on the Greenwich Council planning pages. This is the developer’s response to condition 34 of the original planning application, which asks for details of “the methodology for the removal of the imperial seal ‘VR’ (Victoria Regina) on the flank elevation of the Post Office  and its reinstatement within the development, together with other architectural features of merit on the Post Office (which shall include detailed consideration of the terracotta decorations of the gable ends, stone door surrounds and other architectural features of merit)” to be submitted to the Council before demolition starts. It includes details of how the bricks will be individually removed and bubble wrapped for storage, including marked up photographs showing which features will be preserved.

Unfortunately “Details of their reinstatement have not been formulised at this stage” – which I think means they don’t know where they will put the preserved features – so they will be put into storage. Looking at the computer-generated images of the glass-faced monolith that is being built, it’s not clear to me where the preserved Victorian decoration could possibly fit

Incidentally, progress on the development is being recorded on a pair of web cams.