Iconic former home of Burnley Express set for new chapter as shops and homes

The former Burnley Express office in Bull Street is being renovated into four shops and 13 apartments.
The former Burnley Express office in Bull Street is being renovated into four shops and 13 apartments.
Share this article

One of Burnley's most recognisable buildings, the former Express office, is set to begin the next edition in its history.

The landmark building in Bull Street is being transformed into four retail units and 13 apartments.

Ian Walker outside the Burnley Express office when he bought it earlier this year,  with his daughter, Holly, who acts as interior designer for the apartments.

Ian Walker outside the Burnley Express office when he bought it earlier this year, with his daughter, Holly, who acts as interior designer for the apartments.

Work began in October and a show apartment is set to open this Saturday.

All the homes, which are a mix of one, two and three bedroomed apartments, are scheduled to open by February.

The new owner of the iconic building is property developer, Ian Walker, who is incorporating the history of the Burnley Express into the homes and shops.

He said: "A couple of the apartments will be named to reflect the history of the newspaper and there are a couple of items of interest that we found during the building work that will be restored and put on display in the retail units and in the reception area."

The initials B E, which are carved in stone on the exterior of the building, will also be retained.

Ian said he had been overwhelmed at the positive comments and support from people in the town for the Bull Street project.

He said: "This is such a well known building and people have been so supportive and positive about the re-development.

"I love coming to work here everyday, it has been a pleasure to see it taking shape."

The renovation is a labour of love for Burnley born Ian who is familiar with the Bull Street building as he was often interviewed in the newsroom during his stint as a DJ and promoter at a variety of nightspots in the town in the 1980s.

Ian has even created his own separate company, OBE which stands for Old Burnley Express, to deal with the redevelopment project.

The owner of the Ian Walker Property Group, the Bull Street building is the latest acquisition for Ian in a portfolio of 140 properties across the North West.

He owns a number in Burnley town centre including the listed former home of the law firm SFN in Red Lion Street

and the former Garden Bar and the Bees Knees bar which he converted into apartments and shops.

The Burnley Express moved out of its Bull Street home in August last year and is now based at the Empire Business Park in Liverpool Road with sister papers the Nelson Leader/Colne Times and the Clitheroe Advertiser.

The move marked the end of an era for the building which had been home to the company since 1933.

The paper was originally founded as the Burnley Express and East Lancashire Observer by printer George Frankland who was from Preston.

When the Burnley Express was taken over by the Preston based Burnley News in 1933 the business moved out of St Jame's Row across into Bull Street where it was to remain until 2016.