Wirral Chamber acquires Birkenhead HQ

Wirral Council sells Egerton House in Birkenhead to Wirral Chamber in a deal part-funded by a £2m finance package brokered by Bathgate Business Finance. Tony McDonough reports

Egerton House
Gordon Andrews (Bathgate) and Paula Basnett (Wirral Chamber). Picture by Andrew AB Photography


Wirral Chamber has acquired its long-time headquarters in Birkenhead in a deal partly funded by a £2m finance package.

Egerton House is a former banana warehouse dating back to 1874. The 40,000 sq ft building, on the Edge of Wirral Waters, has long been occupied by the chamber but owned by Wirral Council.

Now the authority has agreed to sell the building to the chamber which has secured a £2m finance package from Reliance Bank. This agreement was brokered by West Kirby business finance specialist Bathgate Business Finance.

Chamber chief executive Paula Basnett said accessing traditional financing options was “increasingly challenging”. Recognising those limitations, it turned to strategic partner Bathgate.

“When the opportunity to acquire Egerton House presented itself, we knew in our hearts that this was more than just a transaction,” said Paula. “It was an investment in the future of Wirral Chamber and the entire community it serves.

By taking ownership of the property, we were not only securing a stable foundation for Wirral Chamber in the short term but also laying the groundwork for its enduring legacy for generations to come.”

As well as offering accommodation to its own team the chamber shares the office space with other SME tenants. In November 2022 the council said it would spend almost £1.5m increasing the office space in the west wing from 5,000 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft.

Working closely with Wirral Chamber, Bathgate embarked on a search of its network of alternative funders. This process involved due diligence, financial analysis, and meticulous planning, before finally securing a deal with Reliance.

Bathgate managing director, Gordon Andrews, said: “As a Wirral-based business ourselves, we recognise the vital role of the Chamber in the economic growth of the region and how it helps local businesses to thrive.

“This deal posed some unique challenges, including finding a funder who would agree to the loan based on the chamber’s ambitious vision and projections around tenancies, potential for social impact and return on investment.

“Through our extensive network and relationships with a wide range of alternative funders, and working closely with the Chamber’s finance director, Neil Coles, we brokered an excellent deal with Reliance Bank.”

Now, with the facility up and running, the chamber’s five-year strategy includes the modernisation of the whole internal part of Egerton House and making the building net zero carbon.


Egerton House
Gordon Andrews (Bathgate) and Paula Basnett (Wirral Chamber). Picture by Andrew AB Photography
Egerton House
Egerton House in Birkenhead, was once known as the ‘Banana Warehouse’. Picture by Tony McDonough


Paula added: “Our vision extends far beyond mere stability; it’s about creating a lasting impact that transcends time. Egerton House is not just a building – it is a symbol of resilience, progress, and the unwavering spirit of entrepreneurship. 

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“By safeguarding their futures, we are ensuring that the Chamber remains a vital lifeline for businesses, a catalyst for growth, and a pillar of support for our community for years to come.”

Egerton House was named after 19th century Chester MP Sir Philip de Malpas-Grey Egerton. It stored many commodities but the connection with the West Indies banana trade gave its local name the “Banana Warehouse”.

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