BLANDFORD FORUM POST OFFICE
Architect: David Dyke
Selected bibliographical references
Western Mail 31 May 1935, p. 2
From: Western Mail 31 May 1935, p. 2
A building in the English Renaissance style, Blandford's new Post-office, which was opened Monday, is not only dignified addition to the architectural beauty of the town, but marks big step forward in postal organisation. The public will welcome the up-to-date facilities and increased amenities, while behind the scenes conditions have been greatly improved. The new premises were opened the Mayor, Miss E. G. Castleman-Smith, who was supported members of the Town Council, in their robes, Council and Post-office officials, and number of prominent citizens. The Mayor and Corporation walked in procession from the Corn Exchange, and were welcomed by Mr. S. Turner (head-Postmaster of Blandford). Unlocking the door, the Mayor said the building was very handsome and dignified one, and an ornament the town. People were apt to take things for granted, and did not realise how much they depended upon the speed and efficiency of the public services, of which the Post-office was one of the most important. The post dated from the Roman times, and the first post in England was started by King Charles between Edinburgh and London in the 17th century. Personally she had always received the greatest of courtesy from the Postmaster of Blandford and his staff. She had posted nearly 100,000 letters and circulars during her stay in Blandford, and far as she knew not one of them had miscarried. She congratulated the architect and builder on the successful result of their work, and had much pleasure in declaring the building open. The company then entered the public office, where the Mayor expressed admiration of the tasteful interior arrangements. She remarked that she had already posted the first letter, and was now going to send the first telegram to the Postmaster-General with greetings from the Town Council and Borough, and tribute to the progressive policy of the Post-office administration. Later a reply was received. The first stamps sold across the new counter were purchased by the Deputy-Mayor, Alderman W. J. Newman, who congratulated the Postmaster and staff on having such a fine office to work in. He understood that practically all local labour had been employed in the building. Moving a vote of thanks to the Mayor for performing the opening ceremony, Mr. E. J. Gayes, P.O. surveyor of the South-Western District, said it was their desire that happy relations should exist between them and the public. The post was Government monopoly, but he believed it was a benevolent monopoly. He knew a new Post-office at Blandford had been long overdue, but if the department moved slowly, it moved surely, and he thought it was worth waiting little longer for a really good thing. If the public had found the old Post-office uncomfortable, he would like say on behalf of the staff, the difficulties on the other side of the counter were even far worse than they could imagine. He paid tribute to the Post-office staff for the willingness with which they worked under uncongenial conditions. The new building was absolutely up-to-date in its amenities … A description of the new office was given Mr. D. N. Dyke, 0.B.E., H.M. Office of Works architect, who said it was on a site formerly occupied by residential buildings, and stood in commanding position overlooking the Tabernacle-hill. Although not immediately in the shopping centre, it was conveniently placed for the residents of the town. The building had been designed the traditional English Renaissance manner, and was carried out in hand-made sand-faced bricks and Portland stone. The roof was covered with old hand-made tiles, which were removed from residences formerly on the site, and this made it more in keeping with other buildings the town. The first time he came to Blandford, said Mr. Dyke, it was from over the Bridge, and he was very much impressed by the beauty of the approach to the town, which he thought was one of the most delightful in their very beautiful country. In designing the building an attempt had been made to use materials which harmonised with the very charming old town of Blandford, with its interesting church and Georgian buildings. The accommodation consisted a public office with a counter 24 feet long, and it would be noticed that the woodwork was finished in mahogany with veneered inlay English walnut. Trough lighting had been provided, and the heating of that room, and throughout the building, was unique. Panel heating had been arranged on the ceiling, there being no fireplace or radiators. There were convenient posting facilities, stamp machines and a telephone kiosk. The other principal rooms were the sorting office, 45 feet by 38 feet, with welfare accommodation for the sorting clerks and postmen, and, on the first floor, accommodation for the Postmaster, writing staff, postal stores, and women's welfare accommodation. The yard was of ample dimensions for future development, and there was central garage and workshop, 100 feet by 33 feet. The total cost of the building was £11,000. Mr. Gayes expressed pleasure at the presence of body of Post-office pensioners. A tour was afterwards made of the building, and the visitors were entertained to tea in the sorting office. Two rooms at the eastern end of the building constitute the new Blandford County Court Offices, and these also were open to the public for the first time on Monday. The equipment has been moved from the old offices adjoining the Blandford Rural District Council Offices.