Charity restores St Helens mansion

Charity Age UK Mid Mersey has spent £3m restoring the grand Victorian house that it uses as its headquarters.

Mansion House was built in 1850 by a wealthy local solicitor. The grade 2-listed building is owned by the charity, which also hires out the venue for weddings and functions. There is also a café and gift shop on site.

The refurbishment aimed to reverse the effects of poor maintenance and vandalism over many years and to return the building and its grounds to its former splendour.

A major part of this restoration was to re-instate the grand timber-built orangery that originally adjoined the house, but which had been replaced by a metal framed modern glass house which lacked the aesthetic appeal of the original.

Mark Lunney, chief executive at Age UK Mid Mersey said: “The Mansion House is an important revenue generator for us, and the stunning new orangery allows us to offer superb facilities to deliver much needed support to our older clients. As a social enterprise, all surplus income generated, is reinvested into ensuring people can love later life. Customers, both visitors stopping for a visit to the Bistro café, or those looking to hire out the space for weddings and other functions, help us achieve this. It’s something truly unique in the region.

More than 4,000 sq ft of glass was used to recreate the orangery. Pilkington supplied the glass, using an outer layer of Pilkington Activ SunShade Neutral on the roof for solar control and self-cleaning and an inner pane of 8.8mm Pilkington Optilam Therm S3; two sheets of glass laminated together for strength and impact resistance. For the vertical glazing, 6.4mm-thick Pilkington Suncool Optilam toughened glass was used.

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Great to see this brought back to life!

Spent many a happy childhood Saturday afternoon in the late 1970s and early 1980s being taken around ‘Vicky’ Park during visits to grandparents in Denton’s Green, St. Helens. Although it was a great place to roam around (the lake (pulled our dog out a few times!!), the quirky wooden bridge that went nowhere, the disused bowling pavilion, the mysterious Chinese wall, the winding and looping paths, the entrance archway at the top) the place had a real neglected feel. The Mansion House and miniature garden at the rear were mysterious, but desolate, with vandalism being the order of the day. Even as a young child the decay and neglect was palpable – but what a great playground it was!

Welcome back ‘Vicky Park’ – good to see you all spruced up!!!

By Saint Helen

Looks great!

By Paul Blackburn

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