The Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, 24th May 2005
Old school conversion gets nuns' blessing

Three special ladies have given their blessing to the conversion of their old school into luxury apartments. Sister Carmel, 82, Sister Agnes, 71 and Sister Breakell, 77 said Rowland Homes' Charterhouse conversion of 20 Winckley Square is the answers to homebuyers' prayers.

Rowland is giving a new lease of life to the former Holy Child Convent School, where the three nuns taught and attended.

They were among a crowd of people who turned out to take their first look around the prestigious Preston development, when a show apartment was unveiled earlier this month.

And the sisters were quick to give the venture their blessing.

Sister Braekell, who was a former pupil at the school, said: "I've known the Winckley Square area since I was five, when it was all blocked off and only tenants had a key to access their part of the square. I was in senior school during the war when they built air raid shelter and emergency water tanks on it. I've seen it go through some dramatic changes.

"We were very happy when we heard that Rowland Homes wanted to convert the building from offices into new apartments. It's such a lovely site and so nice that people now have the opportunity to make it their home.

"I think it's wonderful that new apartments are springing up across the square because it will create new communities for the area. I am particularly pleased with the way Rowland has approached the conversion of my old school. It's been done with great sensitivity and the wonderful character of the rooms has been retained by keeping details such as the intricate coving and glorious staircase.

"When we visited the show apartment so many memories were brought back. Many of my old school friends would love to live there because of this reason and the fact that this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole square. Rowland Homes has really made the best of the place."

The Holy Child Convent became part of the Newman College Catholic Sixth Form in 1978, when it merged with the Boys Jesuite College and Lark Hill Convent School.

In 1987, the nuns sold the site to developers and it was transformed into offices. Comprising nine apartments, Charterhouse is one of the largest and most ambitious refurbishments currently taking place within the square.

Evidence of Rowland's attention to detail in the conversion of the building can be found in the careful preservation of original features - and in the fact that no two apartments are the same.

Four duplex apartments are situated on the ground and lower floors, with two apartments each on the first and second floors and just one on floor three. Priced from 161,950 to 289,950, every one offers a beautifully fitted kitchen and en-suite.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, May 2005