ST HELENS REPORTER: Time for a change for the Beechams Clock Tower
St Helens College has revealed that Luxor Group is about to become the new owner and custodian of the Grade II listed, Beechams Clock Tower building.
The Beechams factory and office building, built between 1884 and 1887, was famous for producing the well-known Beechams pills. The company was a major employer in the town, and the factory continued to produce pharmaceutical products even after Beechams merged with SmithKline Beckman in 1989.
Sadly, in 1994 the factory finally closed its doors, with the Beechams estate becoming a part of the St Helens College campus. Over the last 30 years, St Helens College has invested significantly in the upkeep and refurbishment of both of the old buildings, ensuring they are fit for purpose for modern teaching and learning and appropriate for housing the broad range of curriculum the College offers.
The factory building next door to the clock tower, will continue to be owned by the College, and recently underwent a £1million pound refurbishment to transform the College library and learning centre, investing in creating collaborative working spaces, IT facilities and exhibition space, as well as introducing a Starbucks café.
The next chapter for the iconic clock tower building is an exciting one, with plans being submitted to convert the building into residential space. Paul Nicholson, the owner of Luxor Group, said, “We are really excited to be working with such a beautiful and much-loved building in St Helens. As the building is Grade II listed, we have actively sought the advice of heritage experts to ensure we protect the fabric and characteristics and features of both the exterior and interior of the building.
There are no plans to alter the exterior of the building in any way, but we hope to enhance some of the existing features, for example, reinstating the old disused doorways and windows in the currently unused basement.”
The College will accommodate the small amount of teaching that was undertaken in the clock tower building in the other buildings at the Town Centre Campus.
Luxor Group plans to hold a public consultation and share the plans for the interior conversion. Paul added, “We hope to sympathetically expose the beautiful internal courtyard that the building is currently hiding, so residents will be able to appreciate the beauty that is this building.
Ultimately as imminent new owners and custodians, we want to preserve the heritage of the building, enhance its legacy and bring prosperity to the College’s future along with the multiplier effects that will bring to the community.