The BAM Construction team has arrived on-site ready to begin the multi-million-pound restoration of Blackburn College's Victoria Building.
Once complete, the iconic building will become part of the Blackburn Learning Quarter for adult learning and community activities in the heart of the town.
The 135-year-old, Grade-II listed building and its distinctive features will externally be restored to their former glory, while the inside will be completely renovated to blend old with new.
This includes reinstating some of the original floor plans to create spacious classrooms and meeting areas, and a restoration of the wood-panelled Headmaster’s Office on the ground floor which will be available for hire.
The entire top floor of the building will be transformed into a live performance, exhibition and creative space for both student and community events.
The flagship project, funded by the Department for Education’s (DfE) Further Education Capital Transformation Fund is one of the largest schemes of its kind in the UK and is a central feature of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Blackburn Town Centre Master Plan.
To mark the handing over of the keys, a special ceremony was held featuring Dr Fazal Dad, principal and chief executive of Blackburn College senior leaders from the college, the Mayor of Blackburn Coun Parwaiz Akhtar, and Mick Donoghue, construction manager at BAM Construction.
Dr Dad said: “The Victoria Building is a much-loved and recognised landmark. It’s weaved into our town’s history, a symbol of Blackburn’s proud industrial heritage. This ambitious project will create a new life for the building as a beacon of our dynamic economic, cultural and inclusive future as the town undergoes its own transformative investment.
“It is with great pleasure that I hand over the keys to the Victoria Building to BAM Construction for work to begin."
John Phillips of BAM said: “The work on the Victoria Building represents an interesting challenge for BAM UK&I. This beautiful, Grade II listed building requires intricate and delicate work to ensure the fabric of the college remains undamaged.
“The building will be completely covered in scaffolding and a canopy that allows the work to remain protected from the elements, whilst we restore this eye-catching structure to its former glory. Most importantly, we’ll make possible a superb upgrade that will serve the staff, students and local community for generations to come.”
Blackburn-based Darwen Terracotta and Faience has also been commissioned to restore many of the elaborate carvings on the building’s façade.
Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred