History of iconic Littlewoods building to be captured in heritage project by Liverpool John Moore’s University and Metal, in collaboration with CAPITAL&CENTRIC.
- Invitation to the public to share memories of Littlewoods with launch event on 4th July at Liverpool John Moores University’s Redmond Building
- £50m plans by CAPITAL&CENTRIC to transform iconic building into Littlewoods Studios still on track despite last year’s fire
- Open call for filmmakers to get involved in creating an artwork for the new Littlewoods Studios development
The history of the iconic former Littlewoods building on Edge Lane, Liverpool is set to be forever captured by Liverpool John Moores University and Metal, in collaboration with CAPITAL&CENTRIC. With funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will document the building’s rich and fascinating social history telling the story of working life in the 20th century.
Built in 1938, and still a striking landmark at the gateway to the city, the building was home to the Littlewoods Pools for 60 years. Over 30,000 employees worked for the family-run business at its peak, rendering it integral to the heart and history of the local community. John and Cecil Moores garnered a reputation for genuinely caring for their workforce, ensuring that they were paid the highest wage in Liverpool and organising mass employee outings to seaside resorts.
The Edge Lane building was commandeered during World War II when, other than the American military, it became the largest global manufacturer of parachutes and printed 17 million conscription documents. It was also used to intercept all international mail leaving and entering the UK, in an attempt to break enemy codes and protect national secrets.
Having laid derelict for years, the building is set to become the new home for the big and small screen with plans to create a Hollywood standard filming complex. CAPITAL&CENTRIC, owners of the building, are planning the £50 million ‘Littlewoods Studios’ with the UK’s oldest film studios, Twickenham, the anchor tenant. Despite a fire that devastated part of the building last year, the plans for new development alongside the restored art deco building are on track with work expected to start on site by the end of the year.
The planned intergenerational heritage project will record and interpret the rich history of the building, which is at risk of being forgotten. Thanks to National Lottery players and a £48,100 grant, a team of academics, artists, volunteers and former employees will revivify the building’s past through interviews, workshops, events and screenings. The heritage will be preserved on a website and smart technology will be installed on-site, enabling access to incredible stories of the building’s past; stories which still resonate today.
Ruth Doughty, Liverpool John Moores University said:
“The Littlewoods empire has left an important legacy in Liverpool and beyond. The building itself reveals how working life transformed throughout the 20th Century. So many local people have a personal connection to the building. We’re looking to record memories from former employees; stories that reveal what it was like to work for Littlewoods at the Edge Lane site. It is important that we capture these memories before this history is lost.”
A launch event will be held at the Redmond Building, Liverpool John Moores University on 4th July 6-8pm. This free event is open to all former employees and those with an interest in the project. For more information and to register https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/littlewoods-heritage-project-launch-tickets-63648902581
As part of the project arts organisation Metal are leading an open call for a filmmaker, who will collaborate with local writer Jeff Young, to create a new artwork for the Littlewoods Studios launch. For more information and to apply visit www.metalculture.com/projects/Littlewoods
Jenny Porter, Metal Culture said:
“We’re delighted to be involved in celebrating the history of the Littlewoods building. This is a community project and we’re looking for local filmmakers to get involved and help create an artwork that will be on display in the new Littlewoods Studios.”
John Moffat, CAPITAL&CENTRIC said:
“As we set about restoring the building it’s always been really important to us that we celebrate its amazing history. Littlewoods is one of Liverpool’s most loved buildings and we can’t wait to create something that gives it the same buzz and excitement that it used to have. We’ll be creating jobs and opportunities for generations to come, helping to regenerate this part of the city and give the building the future it deserves.”
Lynne McCarrick, who worked for Littlewoods in the 1960s said:
“Littlewoods is in the DNA of many generations in this country. Everyone knows, or knows of, someone who worked there. So many are actually related to former employees, whose stories of the fun and care we enjoyed at Littlewoods, continue to be shared down the generations. I feel it is essential that we preserve the memories as well as the building, the details as well as the bricks.”
Got a Littlewoods memory? Visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/LittlewoodsHeritage/
About Littlewoods Studios
Location: Littlewoods complex, Liverpool
£50m investment value
Size: 300,000 sqft
Restoration of heritage building into a destination for film
Anchor tenant: Twickenham Studios, 85,000 sqft
About the building
Designed by Scottish Architect Gerald de Courcey Fraser, the Littlewoods building has been a formidable fixture on the city’s skyline since 1938
Hundreds of thousands passed through the doors, with the building being at the centre of the national football pools craze. The Littlewoods Pools gave hope and meaning to many people’s lives, as winning The Pools presented a tangible opportunity for working class people to change their economic circumstances.
At its peak, some 16 million tickets were printed and counted in the building.
Littlewoods also played an important role in World War II – millions of registration forms were printed there within days of war breaking out.
During the war, 12 million shells and 6 million fuses, as well as parachutes, were also produced there.
Littlewoods held important connections to the community of Liverpool and beyond, not just in terms of employment, but also in terms of civic and community life. Staff activities included company choirs, beauty pageants and sports teams. In particular, the Moores brothers were held in high regard by the city, as they owned Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs.
About Liverpool Screen School
Liverpool Screen School (Liverpool John Moores University) delivers excellent programmes within film, media, journalism, the performing arts and writing. To ensure we unleash every student’s creative potential, we not only provide a supportive environment, but we also cement quality theoretical teaching with relevant, practical experience; experience that ensures our students can succeed professionally in their chosen fields. Our programmes are further enhanced by our research output and our global links with organisations across the world.
Social impact developer CAPITAL&CENTRIC is one of the North West’s most creative and active developers. Co-founded by Tim Heatley and Adam Higgins, it currently has five projects totaling £400m under construction which employ over 650 people. It has completed over 500,000 sq ft of new developments in the past three years. It spends on average £2 million a week on regeneration.
Projects include: LONDON WAREHOUSE (co living and co working in Manchester), CRUSADER (a Grade II listed mill conversion sold to owner occupiers in Manchester), KAMPUS (a joint venture with Henry Boot Developments) a large mixed-use scheme within Manchester City Centre, TALBOT MILL (restoration of two mill buildings) and LITTLEWOODS FILM STUDIOS, Liverpool (a film and television hub at the iconic former Littlewoods building). Recently completed projects include TEMPEST (Liverpool City Centre), BUNKER (Liverpool) and FOUNDRY (MediaCity).
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.HeritageFund.org.uk
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund