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Iconic Merseyside building transformed by Nicholson Group

Nicholson Group, an innovative developer, has impressively transformed a historic Grade II Listed building in Merseyside, which is now ready to welcome its initial tenants.

The former headquarters of the Beecham pharmaceutical company, a significant employer in St Helens, is located on Westfield Street. Constructed in the 1880s, the building was the world’s first factory designed exclusively for the production of medicine.

Paul Nicholson, the CEO of Nicholson Group, has cooperated with St Helens Council, Heritage, and Rotary St Helens to preserve heritage. Their focus was on heritage, and they worked together collaboratively.

Iconic Merseyside building transformed by Nicholson Group

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 current structure has been transformed into a combined development consisting of 18 apartments for living purposes, out of which seven are one-bedroom and 11 are two-bedroom. The ground floor has been designated for commercial use and a part of the office space has been retained as it is. The blueprint of the project also included a modification in the site’s vehicle access and minor external adjustments to facilitate the conversion.

Nicholson continued:

“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.”

The Beecham’s Building architect H.V. Krolow designed a clock in 1887, which is one of the many stunning features of the building. As part of the project’s revival, Nicholson Group is restoring the clock’s workings, and local historian and author Mary Presland, who is 96 years old, is ready for the relaunch. 

The building was previously occupied by St Helens College. In addition, the development includes a parking lot at the rear of the building with enough space for 17 cars, as well as designated areas for bicycles and motorcycles.

During a recent trip, local historians and members of Rotary St Helens paid a visit to the historic building. They emphasized the significance of preserving local heritage, which was highlighted by the building’s completion.

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.”

Nicholson added:

“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. 

The selected materials for this development have allowed it to seamlessly blend in with its environment while also providing a modern and refreshing look. Our construction methods were highly sustainable, with the use of local labor and building materials being a key factor in achieving this. As an example, the insulation used in Beecham’s exceeds current building regulations.

Using our ingenuity and creativity, we were able to design the project in-house while ensuring that we did not disrupt the building’s fabric.

Through extensive research, we were able to comprehend the original courtyard floor plan, and we employed the original window openings to create hallways that lead to the apartments. The design concept was challenging since we had to accommodate the building’s original 1880s construction while also taking into account the modifications made by St Helens College in 2000. 

We faced a variety of challenges, but we are very happy with the end result. Those who have visited it recently have been impressed with what they’ve seen. Our goal was to create a project that would be distinctive, and some of the units were designed with sophisticated professionals in mind and boast nearly 2,000 square feet of space.

The Nicholson Group has been working with St Helens Council for almost a decade, during which they have invested heavily in the borough and successfully delivered over 100 apartments across six different projects. The company’s CEO believes that the Beecham’s Building project has set a new standard of living that aligns with the council’s vision for regeneration.

“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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