Public Conveniences, Shelter and Sub-Station

Junction of Merridale Road and Compton Road

The Civic Trust's records do not give an address for this building but, from the clues available, I am guessing that this is the development which received a Commendation in 1960.  The Borough Architect designed it and it was built by the Public Works Department.  

The citation reads:  "The site on which this stands is a triangular one at the junction of two roads, and forms part of an area which is being developed to improve traffic conditions.  The buildings replace a substation, public lavatories and a shelter which had to be demolished.  The site originally contained sub standard cottages.  The buildings form a pleasant group and there has been no attempt to make them more imposing than they deserve.  Great care has been taken in the choice of materials, and the details are good.  The result is most satisfactory and a good example of how such a problem can be dealt with.  There is no doubt that this scheme contributes to its surrounding and deserves a Certificate of Commendation".

The substation is at the back and may still be in use.  The lavatories are on each side and, in accordance with current City Council thinking on public health and comfort, are closed.  The shelter at the front sports a few remains of a bench along the wall.  The flower bed walls to the front seem to be later and are probably part of yet another revamp of the junction.

Why it was ever thought that anyone would like to take their leisure sitting with their backs to the lavatory wall and taking in the view of a brewery is beyond me. 

This old postcard (posted 1909) seems to show the same corner.  On the right is the Old Bell Inn; above the door is a signboard saying "George Parry".  On the right are a telegraph office and what may be a cycle shop.  Presumably these are the "sub standard cottages" mentioned in the citation.  The old shelter and lavatories must have been at the end of Chapel Ash itself, presumably those (or their replacement) that originally served the cab stand. 

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