Academy takes over iconic Mersey department store

MD Creatives has taken a 10-year lease at the former family-run Merseyside department store which closed in 2016 after 128-years. Tony McDonough reports

Nicholson Lofts
MD Creatives will occupy the ground floor of the former Tyrers department store


A creative educational academy is to take over an historic former Merseyside department store that served customer for 128 years.

Tyrers department stores was a fixture of St Helens town centre and was still run by the Tyrer family until its eventual closure in 2016. Developer Nicholson Group has since converted the upper floors into a £1m luxury apartments complex.

Nicholson has now secured a 10-year lease on 4,500 sq ft on the ground floor and basement with MD Creatives which will install a library, IT suite, radio station and hotdesk opportunities for other businesses to utilise.

It will also build classrooms in the building, which is on the corner of Milk Street and Bridge Street, to complement MD’s vocational academy, located in nearby Barrow Street. It is also proposed to recreate the historic venue’s famous tea rooms and deli at the rear of the property, in a 1920s style.

Doforo, creative director and founder of MD Creatives, said: “We were looking for a space in the town centre to house the academic side of our provision, separate to the more vocational offering at the academy on Barrow Street.

“The old Tyrers building then came to our attention, and we just fell in love with the history of the place. We are all about telling stories here at MD, be it through dance, song or art, and boy, does this building have a story to tell.

“I want that rich heritage to be celebrated and recreated for today’s community. That is where the idea of the tea rooms and deli came about. While it will form an integral part of our catering course, it will also provide an opportunity to acknowledge a treasured part of St Helen’s recent history, and that excites me greatly.”

Providing an alternative method of learning to youngsters from across the Liverpool city region, MD Creatives is currently recruiting for the new school year, and will host its ‘Industry Week’ from September 7, involving 50 industry leaders giving workshops and lectures to new students.

The academy offers accredited, creative programmes and courses in performing arts, hairdressing, make-up, photography and more. Qualifications on offer include BTEC, HND and HNC in Performing Arts, and accreditations by Open Awards, NCSE and Arts Awards, with programmes and courses available for most ages.

Beyond the grades, MD Creatives also offer an inclusive, communal and social space, where young people and adults from all backgrounds are welcome, a place where they can grow and prosper through creativity, support and teamwork.

MD Creatives was established in 2018 by Miguel Doforo, who with his earlier project, MD Productions, was a three-time semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent, and who has performed for The Royal Family.

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