Plans to transform the former Abingdon Street Post Office into a 150-room hotel have been approved. Photographer and urban explorer Christopher Verity takes a last look inside

Planning permission has now been granted to Ashall Projects to renovate the former post office on Abingdon Street.

Original post office room

Permission has been previously granted four times but plans have gone through multiple revisions since 2021. The development is now set to include a three storey rear extension and a rooftop terrace.

Original entrance wooden casing with the King George V GR cipher

The £26m scheme to transform the post office received £8m for the government’s Levelling Up fund in March, after twice being turned down previously.

The original safe for deposits

Town Hall planners said: “The development would be one of many regeneration projects within Blackpool and will assist in the re-branding of the town centre, strengthening it as cultural, leisure and business destination for residents and visitors.

An old sorting cupboard

“The proposal seeks to re-use a Grade II Listed building thus preserving the heritage asset of the former post office and sorting office for future generations to enjoy.”

Post office counter

The new hotel is set to include a ground floor restaurant and bar with entrances on both Abingdon Street and Edward Street.

A drawer dedicated to DSS Mexford House – the old pension centre

Designed by architect Walter Pott, the Grade II-listed building operated as a post office from 1910 until it closed its doors in 2007. Since then it has been left to ruin.

“After being shown around this place a few weeks back by some friends I just had to go back with the camera and tripod to capture some proper images,” says photographer Verity.

Verity also ventured to the upper floors

“The door was open and my mission was to document the space and leave everything as I found it.”

An article in the Blackpool Gazette published on the day the post office opened, 8th November 1910, read: “The public office is very handsomely finished off, and there is accommodation for dealing with a big pressure of business when the crowd gets inside.”

It didn’t go without criticism, however, with the Gazette noting: “We are afraid that there will be a lot of jostling experienced in getting in and out when the busy time comes round again next season. The corner in which the posting boxes have been placed is unfortunate. With a hundred people endeavouring to post their letters at one time the weaker members of the crowd must suffer.”

But “the general beauty of the interior is considerably enhanced by the fine screen on the counter, by which the public is separated from the staff. A well designed “gauze” of bronze takes the place of the old, familiar wire network,” it read.

“Ample table space, for the writing of telegrams and post-cards, is provided,” the article added. “All along the wall, under the windows, there are no less than 24 compartments for this purpose, whilst round the two pillars in the centre of the spacious office, are further compartments for writing purposes.”

The second floor

“The walls of this grand “Salle publique”, as well as of the public telephone department, are lined to a height of 8 ft with faience and the floor is laid with an excellent design in marble mosaic,” it continued.

“The furnishings of the public office are very pleasing, all the woodwork has been done in polished teak, with the exception of the tops to the counter and desks and these are of polished mahogany.” New designs for the building are reported to incorporate the original counter.

The second floor landing

“It isn’t much more than a shell inside now which is a shame,” said Verity. “But there was still a few points of interest to be shot and plenty of decay.”

A rarely seen rear view of the building
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