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Claremont has reflected the changing face of the city for nearly 200 years; Shipping dating t merchant's mansion 19th century converted into new luxury apartments.

ROM shipping to show business, the deeds of Claremont in West Derby read like a cultural history of Liverpool."

The stunning house, just a stone's throw from Everton FC's Bellefield training ground, was built and first owned by one of the city's most famous shipping merchants, William Cliff.

Back then, in the late 19th century, it was a grand private residence for Cliff, his large family and a sizeable staff of servants.

But the Cliffs weren't the only notable owners of the mansion. Because, by the late 1960s, it was bought by another well-known Liverpudlian - TV writer Carla Lane.

She, her mother and two sons lived in the house until Carla moved south, but it wasn't until son Carl decided it was time to sell that Claremont began its latest incarnation.

Now it has been transformed into luxury apartments and coach houses thanks to 3MB Developments, which specialises in converting unusual buildings. 3MB's Andrew Milne said: 'I was talking to Carl about the coach houses and what he intended to do with them when he said he was actually thinking of selling it all and moving on.


There was the main house, coach houses and an orchard. It was an amazing place and I thought, bingo.' The sale of Claremont went through in February last year and it's taken 15 months for the restoration and conversion to be completed Carl, admits Andrew, is an interesting character and the house's interior reflected that but it was otherwise structurally sound and had plenty of unique features.


There were two basements in the house, one was a meat store with hooks in the ceilings to hang the meat, and the other was a preparation room,' says Andrew. 'Then underneath the courtyard we found a cold store, which would have been filled with snow and straw to store the meat before it was taken into the house to be cooked.

'It was like something out of Upstairs Downstairs, like a living piece of history, and we really wanted to keep as much of that character as we could.'

Although 3MB were conscious of retaining Claremont's history, not everyone was initially too keen on their purchase.

'Friends of West Derby objected at first to what we were going to do because they thought it should be restored as a private family home, but that was just impractical,' says Andrew. 'It would cost one buyer millions of pounds and there just wasn't a market for that.

'So I had to go to the planning authorities and defend our position. We argued that, because the house isn't listed, we could have just knocked it down and built modern apartments there. But we didn't want to do that because it's such a beautiful building.'

The main house has now been divided into eight apartments, including two in the re-built rear of the property.

The ground floor pair each have a magnificent sweeping staircase and coved ceilings because, explains Andrew, the house design is actually mirrored. This allowed the developers to split it down the middle and create equal apartments in both halves.

Downstairs, where the old basements were, there is now a dining room, kitchen and study/wine cellar for each two-level ground floor apartment.

'As you walk into the hallway, there's a glass and oak stairway leading down,' says Andrew, 'and there were already windows in the basement so there's a lot of natural light.'

Prices for the apartments are at the top end of the market: pounds 425k for the two ground floor, pounds 325k for the two first floor and pounds 350k for the two second floor with their own roof gardens.

But for that, says Andrew, buyers are getting a home in a fantastic place. And, he adds, there could still be more fascinating history yet to unearth about Claremont.

'One of our directors, Kevin Morrison, did the research on the house when we bought it, and discovered all about the Cliff family, but it doesn't end there.

'He said that the owners of the White Star shipping line lived there, at the time when the Titanic went down. I haven't checked that one out yet, but I'd love to find out if I could


WILLIAM Cliff was the son of shipping merchant Adam Cliff, who established Thompson and Cliff in Liverpool 1831.

William was born in Lime Street, where Adam and his wife lived, and when Adam died in 1851 his son took over the family business.

He went on t o become one of the most successful shipping merchants and benefactors in 19th century Liverpool, funding the Home for Aged Mariners in Liscard and three homes for homeless children.

It is believed that William had Claremont built for himself, his wife Marion and nine of their children, who - at the time of the 1871 census - were aged between six months and 26 years.

William died at Claremont in 1891 on the day of his 50th wedding anniversary and by the turn of the next century it had become the Leyfield Care Establishment for Gentlemen.

It wasn't until the late 1960s when Liver Birds writer Carla Lane moved from a smaller house in West Derby to make it her home


GRAND: The gardens of Carla Lane's Claremont home; LUXURIOUS: The new lounge; FITTINGS: The bathroom and below, hallway and bedroom
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2005
Previous Article:Murder suspect sentto hospital; Mental health probe.

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