Art Deco gem under the hammer - again

Preston's Old Docks House

Preston's Old Docks House

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It is one of Preston’s signature buildings - to some the finest example of Art Deco architecture in the city.

But once again the Old Docks House in Watery Lane is on the market - offers over £800,000 - and once again conservationists are getting twitchy about its future.

So far, in the 35 years since it ceased being the administrative headquarters of the Port of Preston, a string of owners have respected its merit and preserved its character and charm.

But every time it goes up for sale - and there have been numerous occasions since 1981 - there is always a risk the next occupants won’t be so kind. Despite being advertised on commercial property lists as “Grade II Listed,” the Old Docks House has no such protection. “It isn’t listed as far as we can tell,” said Preston heritage expert Aidan Turner-Bishop.

“So there’s always a risk of what could happen. It would be great if any new owner continued to keep it as it is.

“It’s a grand building, a nice one for its period. It’s a distintive building, one of the few proper Art Deco properties in the city. It just stands out.”

The Old Docks House was built in 1936, even though the Port opposite had been fully operational since 1892. When the docks closed in 1981 so too did the office block. Since then it has had a succession of owners, including Lancashire Enterprises Ltd for its first eight years. Now empty, it was hit by a flood and a “suspicious” fire three weeks ago.