Designed by one of the Victorian Liverpool’s founding architectural fathers, former home of the Inland Revenue and one-time Merseybeat music venue, Lowlands, a Grade II listed mansion located in the West Derby area of the city, boasts a vibrant cultural heritage which has now been preserved for future generations following the successful completion of an extensive £1.2 million refurbishment programme.
Part funded by the Heritage Lottery, the ambitious redecoration scheme launched by the current owners has helped to restore Lowlands to its former Victorian glory, with the colour experts at leading paint manufacturer Johnstone’s playing a vital role in enabling the original decorative paint work and colour schemes to be successfully replicated. Completed by Hill Decorators of Liverpool, the restorative work was overseen by architect Griffiths Thompson Partnership.
After years of use had left Lowlands looking a little worse for wear, current owners the West Derby Community Association launched an ambitious campaign to restore and repair the period property both inside and out. Recreating the authentic 1840s colour scheme was one of the greatest challenges and as Donna Taylor, Colour Consultant from Johnstone’s Technical Advisory team explains, the use of modern technology proved invaluable.
“The restoration project has been ongoing for over two years and in that time, there were many changes made to both the paint specification and colour schemes in order to recreate a period feel right down to the smallest of details”, says Donna. “Where possible, samples were taken of the original exterior paintwork and through the use of Johnstone’s innovative tinting machine, which enables over 15,000 different colours to be created, the house’s traditional appearance and Victorian pastel interior colour scheme was successfully replicated. This has been a great project to be involved with and it’s also been a really interesting history lesson. We’ve enjoyed looking back at the colours and styles that would have been so popular over 150 years ago!”
To create Lowland’s new interior, products from Johnstone’s Trade Professional and Advanced Technology range were specified. As most of the internal plasterwork had recently been repaired using a lime-based plaster, a breathable coating was required and so Johnstone’s Jonmat Premium Contract Matt was used on all internal ceilings. To help minimise future maintenance requirements and provide an attractive yet tough finish, Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt was applied to the internal walls with Johnstone’s Acrylic Satin specified for the interior wood and metal work.
Johnstone’s colour consultants and technical advisory team were also on hand to help transform the exterior of Lowlands, which after years of weathering was also in need of a makeover. Offering an attractive and practical alternative to the first choice of lime-based masonry paint, products from Johnstone’s Stormshield range were used, which also meant that the exterior decoration could be completed in cooler weather. Creating an effective, highly protective system, Johnstone’s Stormshield Pliolite Based Masonry Finish was specified in conjunction with Johnstone’s Stormshield Flexible Undercoat and Flexible Gloss.
Commenting on Lowland’s newly restored décor, Stephen Guy from the West Derby Community Association said: “The colours that Johnstone’s has provided for the restoration of Lowlands are inspirational and as well as capturing the spirit of the property, the nature of the products themselves will help to keep the property looking its best for longer. The help that we received from Johnstone’s colour consultancy has been invaluable and we are absolutely delighted with the results.”
With a past as colourful as its newly restored period décor, Lowlands was built in 1846 by local architect Thomas Haigh and soon became a popular residence for the Liverpool gentry. The property was saved from demolition in the 1930s when most of the area’s mansions were being torn down to make way for modern housing and after a brief period as the home of the Inland Revenue, Lowlands was sold to the West Derby Community Association in 1957. With the Association in residence, the mansion became home to The Pillar Club, one of the most popular venues on the Merseybeat music scene that saw early performances from such iconic bands as Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Hollies and the Silver Beetles, who went on to become the word famous Beatles. Also operating as a community centre since the 1950s and run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the newly restored Italianate mansion is one of the most popular choices for wedding and event hire in the West Derby area.