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Heritage group hope to turn UGB monument into St Helens' tourist attraction
8:10am Thursday 9th January 2014 in News
A SYMBOL of St Helens’ rich glassmaking history may be scarcely noticed by superstore shoppers who pass it by.
But all that’s about to change if a dedicated band of heritage volunteers realise their dream of turning a Scheduled Ancient Monument into a heritage hub and tourist attraction.
The Cannington Shaw Number 7 Bottle Shop is on the Langtree Park site, nestled between the Tesco car park and the St Helens Canal a few hundred yards from the Parish Church and town centre and a little bit closer to the World of Glass.
Fenced off from the public and exposed to the elements the building is all that remains of the vast Sherdley works owned by one of the five companies that amalgamated to form the United Glass Bottle empire.
The Victorian building was in use from 1886-1918 then used as a store and during the second world war was an improvised air raid shelter.
Now a steering group has been formed by volunteers who are determined to create the Friends of Cannington Shaw Bottle Shop and implement a business plan to ensure they can be self-financing – a crucial factor in applying for Heritage Lottery funding.
Star columnist Chris Coffey said: “Langtree (site developers and owner of the Bottle Shop building) were friendly to us and have invited us to a meeting, but it is too early yet.
"We need to produce a business plan. The building will have to be self-financing and we will model ourselves on a steam preservation society like the Friends of Victoria Park and the Citadel Arts Centre.
“We want to complement them all not compete with them.
“Our concern is that the first thing we will need to get a team of experts to stop the deterioration of the building. It is open to the elements and because it has been left for so long we will need to do a proper survey to protect it from further damage.”
Chris envisages it becoming a museum of St Helens life but admits “it could be a long process”.
He said: “Langtree suggested it could perhaps become a bar or a night club.
“St Helens has a very rich history, the first canal in England, glass and bottle making, coal, chemicals, railways and at Vulcan village locomotives were built and exported throughout the world. Then there is the town’s rugby heritage and notable famous people.”
*If you would like to help the volunteers in their quest or have any interesting suggestions for saving this tangible piece of the town’s history contact Chris at Coffey Time via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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