See the Littlewoods Building at its peak over 70 years ago
The Littlewoods building has been a part of life in Liverpool for generations.
Long the seat of thousands of jobs, the building has fallen into disrepair in recent years and its future has been further compromised after a fire in 2019.
Now the building is largely empty, although new plans may soon give it new life as a film and television hub.
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It is sometimes hard to believe that the building was once the headquarters of one of Britain’s largest companies and provided jobs for the townspeople through Football Pools.
But when it was first built on Edge Lane, the Littlewoods Building was at the heart of Liverpool’s economy.
Completed in 1938 to serve as the headquarters for Littlewoods, the building’s huge layout and distinctive Art Deco style made it an instant landmark in the city.
At the time, jobs at the company were in high demand.
John and Cecil Moores, who owned Littlewoods, gained a reputation for genuinely taking care of their workforce, making sure they receive the highest pay in Liverpool, and organizing mass employee days in seaside resorts.
It didn’t take long for its giant factory floors to find a very different use.
When war broke out in 1939, the government ordered the building to be used to aid Britain’s military effort, with Halifax bombers and barrage balloons among equipment built by workers there.
In offices above the factory, workers in the government’s postal censorship department worked to sort mail for anything considered a threat to Britain’s war effort.
After the war, the building again became the business center of Littlewoods.
On a huge floor, employees working at iconic Football Pools sorted huge volumes of mail to keep the operation running smoothly.
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Photos from the time show offices teeming with people running the massive operation, which at one point made Littlewoods Britain’s largest family-owned business.
Automation and a change in the corporate structure will subsequently lead to a decrease in the use of the Littlewoods Building, with the building being completely emptied in 2003.
Since then it has remained largely intact and at one point was threatened with demolition.
A fire in 2019 ravaged parts of its roof, raising fears for the building’s future, but it was later confirmed that the building would survive.
There are now hopes that the building could one day accommodate Twickenham Studios as part of a larger production hub in the city, suggesting that once again the Littlewoods Building could become a hive of activity and a key part of life in Liverpool.
T eCHO has launched a nostalgic new 56-page print supplement. It’s packed with photos from the recent and not-so-recent past, shopping, fashion and music at Albert Dock, as well as an elephant parade in Woolton. You can order a copy here.