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The Margaret Beavan Special School is situated on the corner of Hayman’s Green and Almonds Green. It was designed and built in 1884 by Architect James Frances Doyle. The building was designed for the Latham Family as a private villa and was once called Eddesbury.
Today, this building stands unloved and uncared for, and another Grade 2 listed building is now at the mercy of the weather and vandals who have managed to gain access to the property from time to time.
It was recently highlighted in a local newspaper that the main building narrowly escaped being fire damaged after a portion of the 1960’s extension was fire damaged in a suspected arson attack and as such, this building, although a Grade II listed building, is in poor condition and requires urgent repair work, together with clear instructions on who owns the building and what their intentions are to restore the building to its former glory.

James Francis Doyle's other works include the former White Star Line HQ (30 James Street), the former Royal Insurance Building on Dale Street and St Barnabas Penny Lane amongst many others! 

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I set up a Facebook group back in 2021 and researched the building and the past involvements with its previous and present owners. Eddesbury was commissioned by the Latham Family as their private villa and James Francis Doyle took on the contract to complete this building between 1884 and 1885. They moved in straight away into their grand Villa and enjoyed the building, a stone throw from their previous address. However, their residence in Eddesbury was to be short lived. From 1885, they lived at the address till the death of his wife Caroline in October 1890. Faced with life without her, he moved back to the family address of Heatherlea, Haymans Green and died only a couple of months later on the 16th December 1890. James Latham was buried Walton on the Hill. The family census for the son Gerald shows him living back at the Haymans Green address and thus Eddesbury was abandoned by the family at this point. 

After Eddesbury was abandoned by the Latham family, it appeared to stand empty for a few years until the Cunningham family moved in. The earliest reference to the Cunningham family living there is the 1894 census.

The Margaret Beaven Special School was used from 1930 up to 2004 when the school closed. There have been alterations to additional buildings in the grounds, and the grounds themselves, but we do not concern ourselves with the later editions to the property and are focusing on the original 1884 footprint. The school was closed in August 2004 as part of the wider changes to special schools from the City Council’s think tank. They stated that the changes were part of the city council’s Special Education Needs (SEN) strategy for inclusion. It believes these schools may be better off amalgamated with the mainstream system, but insists the inclusion agenda has been set nationally and is advocated by the Government and schools inspectorate Ofsted.

In 2016, the City Council confirmed that they had sold Eddesbury to a private party. It was not stated whether this building was put out for tender on the market or whether this was a private deal. The sale price was £710,000 and was sold on the 6th July 2016. 

Since then the building has deteriorated further and urban explorers (and youths) and now entering the property. This is not just some abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, this is a Grade 2 listed building in the heart of West Derby built by one of the most famous architects of the day, James Francis Doyle (Designer of St Barnabas Church, White Star Line HQ and the former Royal Insurance Building to name but a few).

I then wrote a website detailing the building's history which can be found in the link below. 


A few months ago, I was contacted by a private developer who advised that they were looking to take on this property subject to successful planning application. I was greatly encouraged by this developer. They had been in to the property and 3D scanned each room, took extensive photographs and measurements and believed that the building could be restored to its former glory, alongside new builds inside the boundary wall of the school as part of a regeneration process. 

After waiting for a few months, I am now delighted that a planning application has gone in to Liverpool City Council and is waiting for approval. This would be a massive new chapter for the building if the planning application is successful and this would be a rare example where a building can be remove from the at risk registers because of it's forthcoming restoration. We are right behind the developer on this and have provided the link to the planning application below. 


Eddesbury, West Derby. 


1884 - Architect James Francis Doyle 


Grade 2 privately owned 


The building has been broken in to on multiple occasions and fires have ripped through some of the ground floor rooms and main staircase. Thankfully the original James Francis Doyle designed fireplaces and intricate details are still safe. The local newspaper have highlighted multiple break ins and multiple fires have been started. Multiple windows smashed and general poor quality of all rooms from water damage in the upper floors. Some stonework is missing from the upper floor surrounds. 


We are overjoyed that planning consent has been given to restore Eddesbury to its former glory and create Danson Park! We have spoken to the developer and they are now taking steps to assess the building so that work can start in due course! 





These buildings do not belong to us only...they have belonged to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not our property, to do as we like with. We are only trustees for those that come after us. 



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