Half of Evening Post building to be demolished

30Nov10

The “Evening Post Building” as it’s always called – even though it’s home to a firm now called Bristol News & Media (BNM) – is a landmark everyone takes for granted. Everyone knows it as the home of the local paper. Everyone under 40 who was ever a kid in Bristol will remember telling their parents the temperature on the electronic display as they walked or drove past it.

The building was commissioned in 1970, when the Evening Post and Western Daily Press were owned by local firm Bristol United Press.

The chief architect was John Collins of DRG Group Architects. Collins had designed the massive DRG building by Bristol Bridge, which in its time was the tallest office building (and not tallest building, as I said in earlier version. My bad.) in the region. His CV also included the HTV building on Bath Road, and the Dolman Stand at BCFC’s Ashton Gate stadium.

The building won high praise when it opened in 1974. It looks elegant, but it’s also solid and uncompromising; just right for its setting, with busy, noisy roads on two sides.

Its blank brick facade, and relative lack of glass at ground level (apart from the foyer) was apparently also because of 1970s fears about IRA terrorism.

It comprises two more-or-less separate buildings; the offices and the printing hall. The latter is the lower bit on the side where you used to have all the logos of BNM publications and the electronic display telling you the time and temperature.

The printing hall is now being demolished. Nothing is printed here anymore as BNM’s owners, the Daily Mail & General Trust, moved the printing of the Evening Post and the Western Daily Press to other sites. Following demolition, which is expected to be mostly completed before Christmas, the area will be cleared and grassed over, and planning permission will be sought for shops and/or flats on the site.

An iconic Bristol structure, built for a Bristol-owned firm by a Bristol architect is to be half-demolished by the media conglomerate which bought it out ten years ago. The irony of this is that the Evening Post was set up because of local resentment at the antics of London-owned newspaper groups – including the Daily Mail – in Bristol in the 1930s.

The “paper all Bristol asked for and helped to create” really was just that, set up with Merchant Venturer backing and boasting a board of directors who all had Bristol addresses.

For the time being, it seems unlikely that anything new will be built on the site anytime soon.

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8 Responses to “Half of Evening Post building to be demolished”

  1. I think you’ll find the spire of St Mary Redcliffe is still Bristol’s tallest building; see https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_in_Bristol

    • Yup, you’re absolutely right. The Robinson Building wasn’t even as tall as Wills Tower. That’s what you get for trusting an article in the local paper. My bad. I shall change it. The mistake is replicated in this week’s Venue, too. I plan to write in and complain about myself.

      • Was the local paper featuring the article one of the titles emanating from the Temple Way Ministry of Lies? I think we should be told.

      • Ministry of Lies? I work there some of the time, you know! I’ll have you know that titles published by BNM contain almost 98% pure organic free-range truth. Especially Venue. The rest is honest mistakes. Mostly.

  2. 5 harryT

    Do you think there will be room for building a stadium or an arena on the site ?

  3. Interesting post, Eugene.
    I’m the director of a regeneration company and we’ve been looking at sites in this area for some time now…
    Nice to see that someone is thinking about making the site pleasant to contrast with all the hardcore and hoardings nearby.

    Would really like to talk to people interested in the role of temporary greening of sites and why landowners sometimes are and sometimes aren’t amenable to making a site look attractive in the short term.

    Do you know of anyone who might be up for a chat?

    • Hi Liz
      Interesting question. Of course there are a lot of sites around town at the moment which aren’t going to be developed until things are looking up again economically. It’s also true that lots of arts and creative types are making use of empty buildings, whether squatters or with the consent of owners.
      Obvious people would people People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, Artspace Lifespace, and there are always guerilla gardeners sprouting up from time to time (don’t know of any at the moment, but must be someone). At the official end of things, you might want to approach Mike Bennett, who has some grand title at Bristol City Council but is always looking for new ideas to make Bristol even more lovely – see http://mikebbristol.wordpress.com/

      • Thanks Eugene…
        Yep, we’re doing some work involving PRSC and I’ve got Mike set in my sights – not heard of Lifespace or Artspace so far though so will look them up. Might even tap up the local press in the New Year to try and raise the profile about the subject.

        Dunno about you, but I’m finding it rather depressing looking at some notably empty development sites in key gateways to our City.


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