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Take a look behind the plastic sheeting around Ipswich’s Old Post Office

PUBLISHED: 07:30 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:53 08 October 2020

Jack Inghem project manager,  David Ellesmere, council leader, Hugh Bunberry, conservation architect, and Barry First from Universal Stone on the roof of the Old Post Office where work is nearing completion.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jack Inghem project manager, David Ellesmere, council leader, Hugh Bunberry, conservation architect, and Barry First from Universal Stone on the roof of the Old Post Office where work is nearing completion. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

For months now Ipswich’s Old Post Office has been wrapped up like a huge Christmas present while contractors have been restoring the building – but over the next few weeks the scaffolding and plastic sheeting should start to come off.

Statues have been restored and replaced on the roof of the Old Post Office in Ipswich.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDStatues have been restored and replaced on the roof of the Old Post Office in Ipswich. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The fabric of the building has had a £1million restoration which its borough council owners hope should speed the day when a tenant moves in and it becomes one of the focal points of the Cornhill again.

Last month it was revealed that the borough was talking to restaurant group The Botanist about moving into the site. As he looked around the building, borough leader David Ellesmere said that discussions were still continuing, but no deal had yet been signed.

New urns have finally replaced those taken down from the roof of the Old Post Office during the war.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDNew urns have finally replaced those taken down from the roof of the Old Post Office during the war. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

MORE: Is The Botanist on its way to Ipswich Cornhill?

David Ellesmere admires one of the new urns on the roof of the Old Post Office.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDDavid Ellesmere admires one of the new urns on the roof of the Old Post Office. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mr Ellesmere was taken up to the roof of the building to see how the work repairing was nearing completion – and also saw the restoration of the statues over the entrance to the building showing off the progress of the Victorian age.

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Skilled crafts people have also recreated stone urns and finials that were removed in 1940 to prevent them from being hit by bombs and crashing to the ground.

Inside the building the huge space of the main hall that was where the public came in – and was later used as the banking hall by the TSB – has been opened up to reveal why it would be so good for use as a restaurant.

Roof slates on the Old Post Office have been replaced.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDRoof slates on the Old Post Office have been replaced. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Restoration work is also continuing there – but while mosaics on the floor are being restored, the main area inside will be left for the tenant to complete to make the most of the building’s architecture. There is a lift installed to allow people with mobility problems reach the main hall without going up the front steps – and there could also be a rear entrance.

MORE: Work starts on the restoration of the Old Post Office

The interior of the Old Post Office will be left for the new tenants to complete.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe interior of the Old Post Office will be left for the new tenants to complete. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Mr Ellesmere said: “The building will be secure and in good order for many years ahead, but it will be for the tenant to put its own mark on the interior – but it is really good to see how the restoration is coming along.”

Mosaics on the floor of the Old Post Office show the Ipswich coat of arms  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMosaics on the floor of the Old Post Office show the Ipswich coat of arms Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Among the details being restored are the four Victorian statues to the wonders of the modern world when the building went up in 1881: Statues depicting Industry, Electricity, Steam and Commerce.

Mr Ellesmere added: “The work that is being done is to a very high standard and should keep this building in good condition for many years into the future.”


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