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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
David Laister

Work starts on Wykeland's Burton building restoration with Hull firm appointed on £2.4m project

An ambitious project to bring Hull city centre’s landmark former Burton building back to its original glory has begun.

Major restoration work on the landmark, Grade II-listed building will see the crumbling granite façade and art deco windows returned to their 1930s grandeur. The £2.4 million restoration project is expected to be complete towards the end of the year.

The 11,000 sq ft building’s modern shop fronts will be replaced with new frontages in keeping with the original style and design. The ground floor is being renovated to enable its use as a restaurant or retail outlet, with flexible space available on the upper floors.

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Hull-based regeneration specialist Wykeland Group is leading the project, working closely with Historic England and the city council’s conservation officer, having secured significant funding due to nature of the work required.

Jonathan Stubbs, Wykeland’s development director, said: “The start of restoration work marks the opening of an exciting new chapter for one of Hull’s most distinctive and recognisable buildings.

Cllr Paul Drake-Davis, Jonathan Stubb and Joe Booth take a closer look. (R&R Studios)

“Since acquiring the former Burton building, our priority has been to deliver a sympathetic, faithful restoration which will bring an important asset back into use.

“This project is an important part of our long-term commitment to the regeneration of the city centre and especially the gateway to Whitefriargate, which links the heart of the city with the Old Town and waterfront.

“It builds on our track record of successful regeneration in our home city, including our part in the transformation of the Fruit Market waterfront area from near dereliction into a thriving, mixed use community.”

Much of the granite cladding on the Burton building is damaged, with replacement granite sourced from the same Norwegian quarry, matching the geographical origin.

Three replica art deco-style Burton signs will also be installed in their original locations on the outside of the building, including parapet signage on the roof line. Inside, significant restoration work has already seen the original lift refurbished, with the parquet floor to follow, and extensive plasterwork in this next phase of work.

Cllr Paul Drake-Davis, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “It’s great to see this project finally get underway thanks to support from the council’s Levelling Up Funding scheme.

“The former Burton building is a significant one in Hull city centre and one which will no doubt gain a lot of interest. I look forward to seeing it progress and the final project.”

Lots to do: An ambitious project to bring Hull’s landmark former Burton building back to its original 1930s glory has begun. (R&R Studios)

Hull-based construction firm Hobson & Porter has been appointed as the main contractor.

Joe Booth, business development director, said: “Last year we restored the magnificent Grade II listed building at 52-53 Whitefriargate which was also supported with a grant from Historic England and Hull City Council, and we took great pride in refurbishing such an iconic building. Our skilled team and supply chain have therefore relished the opportunity to bring the former Burton building back to its former glory.

“It’s another landmark building that is steeped in history and it would be very sad to lose it, so as a Hull-based business, it’s tremendous that we can play a part in safeguarding its future.”

The Burton fashion empire was founded by Montague Burton, a Lithuanian immigrant who arrived in England in 1900. The business started out in South Yorkshire and in 1931 he bought what was a chemist shop and a small brewery on Whitefriargate for £9,000. Plans to demolish the existing shop and construct a new building were approved in 1935 and the current art deco landmark – designed by Henry Wilson – opened in December 1936.

When Burton owner Arcadia Group went into administration in 2020, the store closed its doors, remaining empty since. Wykeland purchased the site in 2021, following nearby acquisitions of the former Marks & Spencer and Littlewoods buildings.

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