PLANS to restore one of Liverpool’s historic landmark buildings will be unveiled next Thursday.
A new group wants to restore the former Irish Centre, also once known as the Wellington Assembly Rooms, at 127 Mount Pleasant, for public use.
The Irish Friends of 127 Community Interest Company (CIC), was formed to restore and refurbish the 1815-built Regency property.
It will formally launch the restoration project at Liverpool Town Hall next Thursday evening.
If the group is successful the building could possibly be reopened for its bicentenary in 2015.
The Irish Friends of 127 CIC grew from the annual Heritage Open Days in 2011.
More than 700 people visited No 127 Mount Pleasant during that particular weekend and inspired this latest of a long line of attempts to save this key Georgian-era building.
A group of interested parties got together to approach Liverpool city council to see if there was any possibility of getting the building restored.
This group has been working closely with the council over the last 18 months and has now developed into the CIC.
Laura Lacey, of the Irish Friends of 127 CIC, said: “The company has been very much supported by Liverpool city council and the Lord Mayor is personally supporting the launch of this exciting project.”
Due to serious neglect over many years the English Heritage Grade II* Listed building is in a very poor state and its fine Adam-style plasterwork interiors badly decayed.
Numerous plans have been announced and then failed to find a new use for the building after the Irish Centre closed in 1997.
Perhaps the most unusual idea was in 2005, a proposal which would have almost obliterated its appearance by conversion into a hotel with glass walls and a four storey glass cube on top.
Other ideas included conversion into a night club, a dance training centre and a joint junior common room for Liverpool students.
The building was originally an assembly room for Liverpool’s great and good, marking Wellington’s triumph over the French at Waterloo in 1815. This wiped out the dire threat to the town’s crucial sea trade.
Designed by Edmond Aikin and paid for by public subscription it was hailed as a “house of mirth and revelry for the amusement of the upper classes.”
The Assembly Rooms became the Wellington Club and hosted balls until 1923.
Having been bought as an annexe by the Sisters of Mount Pleasant Teacher Training College, it was then sold to the Irish Centre Building Fund and reopened in 1965.
After the Irish Centre failed, the building’s freehold lay with the city council which carried out roof repairs and tackled dry rot.
Wayne Colquhoun, of Liverpool Preservation Trust, said: “We’ve forgotten the debt Britain owed Wellington for defeating Napoleon, which is why the public subscribed to have the Assembly Rooms built.
“If the Metropolitan Cathedral can get new steps surely there are funds to restore this Regency gem?
“Let’s hope a long term end use can be found which respects its architectural integrity and protects our legacy of Georgiana.”