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Kop a load of this

Bill Shankly hotel work kicks off with grandson's visit

Written by . Published on February 25th 2015.

Kop a load of this

IT started life as the impressive headquarters of the printing empire that was the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. Then it was reinvented as Millennium House,  workplace of hundreds of city council workers.

Now the building on a island site sandwiched between Victoria Street and Whitechapel is to be transformed into a £20m hotel, themed around the godfather of Liverpool Football Club, Bill Shankly.

The great man’s grandson, Chris, was there yesterday to lend the Shankly family's support to the venture which will also present a chance for memorabilia and Shankly treasures to go on public show for the first time.

Chris arrived at the event with one priceless item, the big red book handed to his granddad Bill by Eamonn Andrews during a 1973 episode of This Is Your Life.

Dozens of artefacts from the Shankly family collection will go on show at the new hotel, due to open at the start of the new football season.

That means less than six months, with no option for extra time as LFC fans from around the world are said to be eager to book rooms.

Img_3746Cilla Black turns up on Bill Shankly's This Is Your Life in 1973

Lawrence Kenwright of Signature Living is behind the scheme. In just a matter of months last year, Kenwright turned Albion House, one-time headquarters of the White Star Line in James Street, into a hotel and gathering place.

That building is celebrated as the birthplace of the SS Titanic, where news of its loss was announced from the balcony.

Yesterday Kenwright and his team held a media call as workmen wearing hard hats got on with the job of ripping out false ceilings and other office fixtures and fittings.

Kenwright has applied for permission to build a rooftop glass-panelled terrace with open balcony on the roof of Millennium House.
"The views are stunning and it will be an amazing place for conferences and events," he said.
Kenwright has already set his sights on other city centre sites, ripe, he says, for rediscovery as apartments and serviced flats.

 He wouldn’t spell where exactly are the buildings he has in mind, but one suspects the blocks between Victoria Street and Dale Street spring to mind.

“There are hundreds of thousands of square feet of empty office space in the city centre and I know they would be snapped up as living accommodation,” he said, “What a better place to live in a city that the very centre, with everything close to hand.”

Just as the old White Star Line HQ stood empty for years,  there are many architectural gems that have been abandoned by businesses in their quest to move to purpose built functional office towers.

Grandson ChrisGrandson Chris

It will be interesting to see whether owners of those empty buildings will welcome Kenwright with open arms, or whether a few CPOs will need to be scattered around to breathe new life into forgotten buildings.

Meanwhile Chris says Granddad Bill would have been delighted with the prospect of a hotel where fans can gather.

He really was a man of the people, giving ticketless-fans tickets for a big game, or giving them the train fare home if they had no money. He even let stranded fans travel home on the team coach. He loved being among the fans.

I wouldn’t let him loose on this project, though. He was apparently useless at DIY and my gran would often talk about some of his disasters on his home improvement ventures,” he added.

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Just ED.February 25th 2015.

How does "Chris", Bill's grandson, become his nephew in the space of a sentence?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
JUST EDITORIALFebruary 25th 2015.

Heaven knows. Luckily it's not a matter of life or death.

AdjustedFebruary 25th 2015.

"Football is much more important than that" to quote the legend.

AdjustedMarch 5th 2015.

I recently met a Scot from Motherwell, we invariably got to talk "Football". We touched on Ian St John, also from Motherwell, and eventually got around to the great man Bill Shankly. Apparently the statue of this great man, erected near Bill's birthplace has come in for some very rough treatment of late. How true this is, I personally cannot vouch. Hopefully one of Confidential's number could report back, when next north of the border.

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