Some new modern flats are to built on Whitehaven harbourside on the site of the harbourmaster's office, a 1960's style flat roofed building. Also to be demolished was the existing boat builders/ chandlery business at the end of Duke Street.
The site was soon cleared and the harbour's administrative function moved to the fish depot on the North wall.
Some subterranean vaults were exposed during the excavating work with the top of the arches just visible in this photograph.
Next a large raft of re-enforced concrete was laid down to form foundations for the building.
By the 9th September 2008 we can see from the steel frame how high this building is and how much of the harbour will be obscured from view for so many people in Whitehaven.
Looking down Hicks lane towards Tangier Street, with the Waverley hotel on the left and the old Gaiety Cinema on the right, we can see how the new flats will overshadow the existing 3 storey Georgian buildings, such as the Candlestick public house.
October saw the addition of a small tower crane to lift in the steel flooring for the apartments and supplement the existing mobile hydraulic cranes. Note the concrete counterweights hung from the support wire.
By December 2008 most of the block work was completed and the windows were being installed.
Surprisingly by May 2009 the building was still enclosed in scafolding as the render was being applied but still a lot of work was going on inside. A final flurry of activity managed to remove most signs of the building site in order to present an attractive set of apartments to the thousands who visited the harbour for the weekend of the Food Festival 2009.
Apart for some work around the back most of the external work is completed. Two businesses have opened on the ground floor - AnnA's cafe on the Duke Street corner is thriving and Oasis dental practice provides some much needed NHS places. Quite a number of the flats have been sold and are getting fitted out to their owners requirements. A high quality external finish especially on the ground floor with some nice touches such as the arches to the rear have possibly saved this building, though the style and scale are still questionable.
This photo illustrates one of the problems with the new building. From the rear, the building is not nearly so attractive and the size of it towering above neighbouring properties completely blocks the view of the harbour for miles. With a hotel planned further along and possibly more apartments are we endangering the very nature of Georgian Whitehaven and its harbour, unspoilt since Matthias Read's "Bird's Eye View" of Whitehaven in the 1730's, and will this affect the tourism industry we are trying to promote?
This is the most attractive angle to see Pears House. Walking along the millennium promenade and looking up at the building in isolation from the rest of the town, the quality of the finish means that apartments do appear high status.
From a just a little further away, despite the glorious setting, looking across Queen's dock, the building looks less inspiring. Hopefully the boarded up retail units will soon be let out and when people move into the flats and sit out on the balcony's it will add a bit of interest and colour.
back to development page
external links: Whitehaven Born Bred and Proud for local comment on the development and photos
Magnus Homes for the developer's vision and plans for the building plus photo updates.