190 Wilmslow Rd, Heald Green, Cheadle SK8 3BH
The original Long Lane Post Office is still there but not here:
However – I digress.
One fine day, some time ago there popped into my consciousness a Sixties retail mosaic in the Heald Green area – I tracked down its precise whereabouts online, in the modern manner.
Thinks – one fine day, just you wait and see I’ll pay a visit to the Heald Green area.
So today I did, it started off fine and finished up less so.
Jumped the 368 from Stockport Bus Station alighted at The Griffin.
Walked aways up the road and there it was, almost intact – it’s original name obliterated with lilac exterior emulsion – did it once read healds?
Why of course it did – the local dairy and retailers were the shop’s original owners.
A few tesserae are missing otherwise the piece is as was – a wobbly jumble of text, shape and colour.
Self service – at your service.
Time’s definitely running out:
But the post office has been stolen and the mailbox is locked.
The age of elegant modernist street furniture, has been and almost gone, the previous centuries are under threat.
But does anyone want this neglected postal self-service technology?
Stamp dispensing is being dispensed with, insert 5p and wait forever.
We have our own disabused facility in Stockport, I pass it almost every day.
And have posted two previous postal posts – here and there.
This new discovery, with thanks to Sean Madner, is situated on the wall of the sorting office in Chesterfield. A faded Festival of Britain charm along with a delightful terrazzo surround, has done little to arrest its slow decline into redundancy and subsequent neglect.
Still in situ, take a walk, take a look – wait for the coin to drop.
What happens to functionalist architecture when it ceases to function?
It ceases to function.
Standing on the A6 in the centre of the town, once home to a warren of postal workers, sorting mail in preparation for the two delivery a day walks. This was a communications hub before they even thought of communications hubs.
The office stands empty, inside the paint slowly peels.
Following changes in working practices the posties now sort their own round, for a single daily delivery. The process has become mechanised, requiring new technologies and an appropriate anonymous architecture, on the edge of town.
The building however, continues to reflect a 70s optimism, monumental – fading, as optimism is apt to do.
An exciting composition of curved tiled volumes and boxy glass and steel modernism, in a delightfully battered brown and cream. Now in the ownership of the Greater Manchester Pension fund, its future would seem, to say the least, uncertain. This whole Grand Central site clustered around the railway station has been subject to a series of speculative leisure developments. As in other locations they seem to fade, just as quickly as the boarded hoardings, shrouded in designers’ digital piazza visualisations.
So we stand and stare at each other lovingly, our heads in a cloud of municipal stasis.
Inside nothing moves.
I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast
I fall in love too terribly hard
For love to ever last
My heart should be well-schooled
‘Cause I’ve been fooled in the past
But still I fall in love so easily
I fall in love too fast
I fell for you the very first time I saw you – imbedded in the wall of the Postal Sorting Office.
Though now each time I pass by and try my best to look the other way, I’m helpless and hopelessly can’t resist.
But you’re closed – all I can do his stare at your stopped clock.
And wonder what might have been.
It’s twenty three minutes to seven – forever in my heart.