Twickenham Studios reveals it is still coming to Liverpool after huge blaze at landmark

It was a cathedral of treble chance dreams. A touch of Hollywood opulence perched high and mighty over the post-war factory landscape of Wavertree. For tens of thousands of workers below and beyond, Littlewoods personified pinned hopes and waiting fortunes just a shilling and a score draw away.

“When we win the pools”, the working class mantra that Camelot killed one night in November 1994. But back then…

An entire wing reduced to crumpled girders: rusty red under a blue sky

September morn, 2018, and as the world awakes to its first autumn commuter crawl, John Moores’ art deco monument lies blackened and bowed following one of the most dramatic blazes the city has seen in decades.

An entire wing reduced to crumpled girders: rusty red under a blue sky. On its central tower, the city’s most glamorous clock face: teary, tarred, scarred.It’s been a bad night, a shocking night, a suspected arson attack has ripped through an entire wing of the 85,000 sq ft site.

“The most interesting wing, the bit with the walk-in safes, with all the grand old fittings,” one insider, tells me, head shaking as he surveys the aftermath.

2018 09 04 Liverpool Littlewoods Fire
Damping down goes on the next day Angie Sammons

And all as it was about to be reborn as Twickenham film studio’s northern outpost. A £50m deal with two 20,000 sq ft sound stages, supporting workshops, wardrobe and prop storage and the prospect of hundreds of real “Hollywood” jobs coming to Edge Lane. Curtain up on a golden age of film that those factory workers could never have imagined in their wildest…

Will it still happen? Can it still happen?

2018 09 04 Littlewoods Sign Liverpool
Will Twickenham film studio's northern ourpost still go ahead? Angie Sammons

Yes, says Twickenham’s commercial director Andrew Boswell, who confirmed today: “Our plans remain unaffected despite the unfortunate fire which was in a different wing of the existing building.”

A man with a clipboard wandering up Edge Lane - turns out he’s the loss adjuster - says there are tentative reasons to be cheerful, testament in no small part to Sunday night’s fire crews who successfully battled to contain the ferocious flames from spreading across the complex. Testament, too, to the integrity of the original 1938 construction; they really don’t make them like that any more.

It seems, then, that Lady Luck didn’t entirely leave the building when it closed in 2003. Now the only Spend Spend, Spend looks likely to come from the insurance company.

Littlewoods Once Liverpools Most Glamorous Clock Face
One Liverpool's most glamorous clock face Angie Sammons