Creative studio offers new lease of life for iconic St Helens store

The former Tyrers store

MD Creatives, an independent, vocational education provider, is to take over the former Tyrers department store building in St Helens town centre on a 10-year lease.

It will create a multi-purpose, resource centre, as part of its growing academy.

The plans for the iconic building – now called Nicholson Lofts – which is located on the corner of Milk Street and Bridge Street, will include a library, IT suite, radio station, hotdesk opportunities for other businesses to utilise, and classrooms to complement MD’s vocational academy, located on nearby Barrow Street.

It is also proposed to recreate the historic venue’s famous tea rooms and deli at the rear of the property, in a 1920s style.

The family-run Tyrers was a staple of St Helens life for decades until it closed in 2016.

The deal with owner the Nicholson Group will revitalise the ground floor and basement of the 4,500 sq ft property.

Miguel Doforo, creative director and founder of MD Creatives, said: “We were looking for a space in the town centre to house the academic side of our provision, separate to the more vocational offering at the academy on Barrow Street.

“The old Tyrers building then came to our attention, and we just fell in love with the history of the place. We are all about telling stories here at MD, be it through dance, song or art, and boy, does this building have a story to tell.

“I want that rich heritage to be celebrated and recreated for today’s community. That is where the idea of the tea rooms and deli came about.

“While it will form an integral part of our catering course, it will also provide an opportunity to acknowledge a treasured part of St Helens’ recent history, and that excites me greatly.”

Providing an alternative method of learning to youngsters from across the Liverpool City Region, MD Creatives is currently recruiting for the new school year, and will host its ‘Industry Week’ from September 7, involving 50 industry leaders giving workshops and lectures to new students.

The academy offers accredited, creative programmes and courses in performing arts, hairdressing, make-up, photography and more.

Qualifications on offer include BTEC, HND and HNC in Performing Arts, and accreditations by Open Awards, NCSE and Arts Awards, with programmes and courses available for most ages.

Beyond the grades, MD Creatives also offers an inclusive, communal and social space, where young people and adults from all backgrounds are welcome, a place where they can grow and prosper through creativity, support and teamwork.