St Helens’ ‘Bottle Shop’ named on endangered building list

Cannington Shaw No7 Bottle Shop in St Helens. It's on the at risk English Heritage register
Cannington Shaw No7 Bottle Shop in St Helens. It's on the at risk English Heritage register

A relic from St Helens industrial past has been including on the Victoria Society’s top 10 endangered buildings list.

Cannington Shaw no7 Bottle Shop, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II-listed building, is hailed as a building on historical importance and is the only remaining part of what was once claimed to be the largest bottle-making factory in the country.

It is one of only two surviving examples of a late 19th century glass furnace dedicated to making bottles that employed the Siemens-patented tank furnace.

The Siemens technology revolutionised the production of glass, and was a major factor in St Helens’ emergence as a glass-manufacturing centre of international repute.

The Bottle Shop was erected in 1886 and remained in production until 1918, when it was thereafter used as a store and then as an air-raid shelter during the Second World War.

Its architectural and historical significance is difficult to dispute, and yet it has found itself derelict and abandoned on the side of a Tesco carpark.

The 2008 application for the superstore and other surrounding new developments (including the St Helens rugby league stadium) effectively ignored the existence of the adjacent historic monument, merely proposing the erection of a new fence around it.

Christopher Costelloe, Victorian Society Director, said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the Cannington Shaw no.7 Bottle Shop deserves much better than it has been afforded these last decades.

“Such an important historic and architectural building should be lauded as one of the few surviving physical reminders of St Helens’ industrial heritage, and yet it is shut-up and ignored and is steeply falling into disrepair.

“But there is still time to turn this around, and revitalise the Bottle Shop to give it the recognition it deserves.”

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, said: “The Victorian Society’s Top 10 Endangered Buildings campaign is now in its tenth year and over the years we have seen what a difference it can make to the future of Victorian and Edwardian buildings in peril.

“All of the buildings on this year’s list have local, even national, importance in terms of their history and/or architecture. To have let them fall into their current state is deplorable, but there is still time to save them for future generations to enjoy.

“Many of the buildings have committed community groups rallying behind them, but I know from experience that funding can be difficult to secure. We need local authorities and private investors to recognise the potential of these buildings and take steps to secure and revitalise them before it’s too late.”