Cannington Shaw no.7 Bottle Shop in St Helen's is all that remains the "largest bottle-making factory in the country"
National architecture charity the Victorian Society has included Cannington Shaw no.7 Bottle Shop in St Helens on its 2017 Top 10 Endangered Buildings list. The Top 10 campaign, now in its tenth year, recognises the plight of endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales in the hope that increased publicity will help save them.
Cannington Shaw no. 7 Bottle Shop is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II-listed building, reflecting its outstanding historical importance as the only remains 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's 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's 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."