Dating back to 1896, the Grade II listed building – a rich part of the borough’s heritage – has been closed to the public since 2017 due to structural issues caused by water damage making the lower levels of the building unsafe.
In 2019, the council announced its commitment to bring The Gamble – a gift to the people of St Helens by Sir David Gamble, the first Mayor of St Helens – back into use.
With scaffolding now up, work is underway as part of a £1.5m restoration project which includes replacing windows, as well as repairs to the roof, downpipes and external decoration – with brickwork and terracotta repairs being carried out by local stonemason, Stone Central.
In parallel to the external works, a repurposing exercise is underway to look at future use of the building, with residents keen to see a library return to the landmark building which was originally built as a library and technical school.
At a recent Cabinet meeting in St Helens Town Hall, which saw Masterplan Development Frameworks approved for the once-in-a-generation developments of Earlestown and St Helens town centres, councillors commented on the importance of the borough’s heritage being the centrepiece of the modern new-look town centres.
Councillor Richard McCauley, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning, said: “The Gamble is close to the hearts of many in St Helens, so it’s great to see the ongoing works to restore such a beautiful building.
“We promised residents that we were committed to investing in The Gamble, to return it to its former glory, and now we’re delivering on those pledges as we look forward to a bright and exciting future for the borough.”
External works are expected to be completed in Spring 2022, following which plans for internal refurbishment of The Gamble will be advanced and funding sources secured, including the related Town Deal allocation, to secure earliest possible reopening for public use and enjoyment.