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Iconic Beecham’s Building in St Helens reborn as residential and commercial hub

2 months ago

Iconic Beecham’s Building in St Helens reborn as residential and commercial hub
Beecham's Building

An iconic Grade II Listed Merseyside building is set to welcome its first tenants after a spectacular transformation by developer Nicholson Group.

The Beecham’s Building on Westfield Street, St Helens is the former headquarters of the Beecham pharmaceutical giant, once a major St Helens employer. The building dates back to the 1880s and was the first factory in the world built specifically to produce medicine.

CEO of Nicholson Group, Paul Nicholson has worked closely with St Helens Council, Heritage and Rotary St Helens with a collaborative focus firmly on heritage.

Paul Nicholson said:

“This magnificent Grade II listed building in Westfield Street in the town centre has now been rejuvenated by the Group’s highly skilled and dedicated team after lying dormant enabling the Beecham’s Building to become a place in which to live and work.”

The existing building has been developed into a mixed-use scheme of 18 residential apartments (seven one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom), a ground floor commercial space and a partial retention of offices. Plans also included an alteration to the site’s vehicle access and minimal external alterations to facilitate the conversion.

Paul Nicholson and Mary Presland
Paul Nicholson and Mary Presland

Paul added:

“The retention of offices now act as our HQ and concierge for our new residents with a unique opportunity for a discerning operator to occupy the commercial space. There were minimal external alterations, only external LED lighting to give a modern twist and bespoke replacement of all windows, which were made by hand on site by an artisan window craftsman, allowing for double and triple glazed units. Electric gates to create a gated residential community are to be installed shortly.”

One of the building’s many stunning features includes a clock designed by Beecham’s Building architect H.V. Krolow in 1887. Nicholson Group is working to restore the workings of the clock as part of the project’s renaissance with local historian and author 96-year-old Mary Presland on standby for the relaunch.

Mary Presland has published many books on aspects of the town’s local history.

She’s perhaps best known for “St Helens, A Pictorial History”.

Also a former home to St Helens College. the scheme additionally incorporates a parking area to the rear of the building accommodating 17 cars, cycle and motorcycle spaces.

On a recent visit, members of Rotary St Helens and local historians visited the historic building highlighting how its completion stressed the importance of preserving local heritage. 

Revered community heritage spokesman Paul Winstanley said:

“The Beecham’s clock tower building on Westfield Street represents a transformative journey, transitioning from a historic pharmaceutical hub to a modern residential space. The Nicholson Group’s dedication to preserving the building’s essence reflects a harmonious blend of past and present. The clock tower building now stands as a beacon of St Helens’ rich history, ready to embrace a vibrant future within the heart of the community.”

Beechams Building frontage
Beechams Building frontage

Paul Nicholson said:

“As the building is Grade II listed, we actively sought the advice of heritage experts to ensure we protected the fabric, characteristics, and features of both the exterior and interior of the building. 

All materials chosen for the development have enabled its transformation to blend seamlessly with its surroundings whilst adding a refreshing and contemporary appearance. Internally, we used highly sustainable methods of construction including the use of local labour and building materials to assist e.g. the insulation of Beecham’s that far exceeds current building regulation standards. 

We designed the project in-house using ingenuity and a creative approach to ensure we didn’t disturb the fabric of the building. 

For example, with thorough research we understood its original courtyard floor plan and utilised the original window openings to form hallways into the apartments. It was a difficult design concept as we had to cater for its original 1880s construction and account for the later adaptation by St Helens College in 2000. 

Beechams Building Hallway
Beechams Building Hallway

It was a real mixture of obstacles to overcome but we are delighted with the outcome. Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit it lately have been blown away by the results. We wanted this to be a real signature project and some of the apartments are nearing 2,000sqft, designed specifically for discerning professionals.

Nicholson Group’s track record with St Helens Council now spans approaching a decade having heavily invested in the borough having successfully delivered over 100 apartments across 6 individual projects, The company’s CEO believes the new standard of living created with Beecham’s Building works in close harmony with the Councils’ vision for regeneration.

Nicholson said:

“Our passion for making a difference, being community-driven and regeneration-focused, working in partnership with civic bodies is driving our momentum in the town. We’ve spent considerable time over the last 10 years immersing ourselves in the regeneration conversation of St. Helens. Our commitment to the town is reinforced by the fact we have secured further projects in the town.”

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