Urban archaeology at Copperas Hill - a personal project

Published on Thu Jun 13, 2024 by

The abandoned Copperas Hill postal sorting office is to be given a new lease of life as first temporary home to the 2012 Liverpool Biennial and then as an addition to Liverpool John Moores University building estates portfolio.

This body of work examines an unseen urban experience in one of Liverpool's iconic buildings. It looks at an emptiness left after humans have departed; the waste, graffiti, the obscure messages and attempts to tell the story of a building from the inside out. Changed textures, altered by anonymous hands, litter the massive spaces. Forgotten signs, point to distant towns, often identified only by a postcode. Everywhere, there were signs of life, interrupted.

1756 saw the first change of use on this site as a copper sulphate works was forced to move due to the smell. However the name stuck as Copperas was the old name for Copper Sulphate.

For a building that once employed 600 people and the scene of many industrial disputes, it was eerily quiet when I first visited in July 2012, indeed I felt like an unexpected guest. The 24,000 square metre Copperas Hill building sprawls over several floors on a 3½-acre site adjacent to Lime Street Station. It was purpose-built for the Royal Mail in 1977 and remained as the main postal sorting office in Liverpool until 2010 when it was closed as part of Royal Mail cost-cutting measures. Most of the sorting work is now undertaken outside Liverpool in Warrington.

I like the visual honesty of the utilitarian architectural style of this building; it is devoid of decoration unlike many corporate and residential structures and clearly remains a functional workspace, even if a lot of the machinery has been removed.

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

Copperas Hill postal sorting office

For more images I made a YouTube slideshow back in the day find it here

Tags: personal, project, copperashill

Author: David J Colbran

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Urban archaeology at Copperas Hill

Personal project from 2012 looking at the abandoned Copperas Hill postal sorting office prior to its demolition. #throwbackthursday

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