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‘Architectural gem’ of former Booths store must be saved say heritage group

Posted on - 20th November, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - History, Housing, News, Preston City Centre, Redevelopment
The former Booths offices in Glover's Court and facing into Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall

The former Booths offices in Glover’s Court and facing into Fishergate Pic: Tony Worrall

Proposals to convert former Booths offices and department store in Preston city centre face being derailed because of the building’s ‘historical value’.

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History campaigners the Twentieth Century Society have written to Preston City Council outlining why they feel the plans from TSS Property Limited should be rejected.

High quality apartments would be created above Waterstones in the former Booths store in Glover’s Court, with a further four flats in offices to the rear of the building.

In a letter to the city council from Tess Pinto conservation adviser the Society’s argument for rejecting the apartment plans centres around the former Booths cafe.

Read more: Former yeast warehouse in city centre to become flats

She writes: “The second floor, which was originally a café, is of particular interest to the Society. It is an open space defined by columns with richly decorative capitals, and intricately moulded plasterwork to the underside and the cornices of the deep downstands which define the recesses of the ceiling structure.

“It is a fine early survival of a purpose-designed café facility within a shop. Booths sought to imitate a growing trend at the turn of the century that was taking place within large and stylish metropolitan department stores.

“It clearly demonstrates the desire of the chain to attract customers from the burgeoning middle classes at this time, and is therefore historically as well as architecturally significant.”

Mrs. Alice Haydock visits the Booths Café for the final time before its closure. Pic: Preston Digital Archive

Mrs. Alice Haydock visits the Booths Café for the final time before its closure. Pic: Preston Digital Archive

They go on to say visiting the Booths cafe will ‘doubtless remain fresh within the minds of many Prestonians’.

The store and headquarters closed in the late 1980s and has been empty ever since.

Read more: More Glover’s Court flat plans get the nod

The former Booths building stands within the Winckley Square Conservation Area, which offers a certain level of protection to all buildings within it.

Preston City Council’s planning committee are likely to consider the plans in the coming months.

What do you think? Should the flats go ahead or is the Booths building too historic? Let us know in the comments below

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