Post Offices, Police Stations and Town Houses

Post Offices

The national programme to improve urban postal facilities in the first two decades of the twentieth century provided many towns with new post offices. These were unashamedly Classical buildings designed by the Board of Works, usually combining red brick with carved stone features in a style derived from the expressive classicism known as baroque, which was revived in the Edwardian period (1901-10). The same architectural style was used for the many public libraries erected under the patronage of the philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

Police Stations

The consequences of the War of Independence (1919-1921) demanded the reorganisation of the police system, and over the following decades many new stations were built to the same standard plan. The designs reflect a desire to blend the buildings easily into the existing urban environment using conventional forms and materials, represented by the natural slate roofs and timber sash windows, while an implicit authority is invested in the recessed arches surrounding the ground-floor windows.

Town Houses

Large market and estate towns developed trim residential terraces, usually plainly rendered town houses, perhaps symmetrical with a round-headed doorcase and a leaded fanlight. By having the ground floors raised above street level and accessed by a flight of stone steps, the houses were invested with a certain dignity and grandeur, no doubt to reflect the social and professional standing of the occupants. Birr preserves a particularly high concentration of these houses, which are amongst the best to be seen anywhere.

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