Since its inception in 1845, the local newspaper has been a cornerstone of communication in Weston-super-Mare. The first edition of the Weston Super Mare Gazette, printed in February 1845, marked the beginning of an era. With its tiny font and densely packed information, it was as revolutionary at the time as modern digital communication is today. Fast forward to 1885, and the Mercury moved into a remarkable building that would be its home for more than a century.

Today, as the building stands vacant, Weston Town Council is breathing new life into it, transforming this piece of history into its new council office.

Adam Cashmore, a site manager with John West Contractors and a veteran of 35 years in the field, has been overseeing the refurbishment and reinstatement of the stone gables to the front tower of the former Mercury office. Now set to become the head office for Weston Town Council, this project holds a special place in Adam’s heart, especially as he approaches retirement. Having worked on several projects with the town council, including the Weston Museum, Adam reflects on the significance of this building to him as a lifelong resident of Weston-super-Mare. It’s a landmark that holds memories for many locals, a symbol of the town’s character and resilience.

Mike Coles, who worked at the Weston Mercury from 1972 to 2017, shares haunting tales of the building’s old, creaky, and spooky nature. Doors that would open and shut on their own and the unsettling atmosphere at night painted a vivid picture of its historical charm. Mike recounts the evolution of the printing process within its walls, from the dangerously hot liner type room with its glass roof and potbelly stove to the introduction of computer-based work that marked a significant shift towards modernity and safety. The discovery of the building’s precarious structural state during renovations highlighted its fragility and the challenges faced in preserving such a historic edifice. The community’s efforts to maintain and refurbish the building underscore the importance of safeguarding our architectural heritage.

This transformation not only honours the building’s storied past but also ensures its continued significance in the heart of Weston-super-Mare. As the former Mercury office begins its new chapter as the council office, it stands as a testament to the town’s dedication to preserving its history while adapting to the needs of the present.

This landmark, central to both locals and holidaymakers, remains a cherished part of Weston-super-Mare’s landscape, bridging the gap between its rich past and promising future. Photos from A1 Camera Club and Mike Coles with our thanks.