Colwyn Bay THI

Burtons Building – Dorothys Florist

Colwyn Bay Townscape Heritage Initiative: Priority Project

The Former Burton’s Building

Restoration of former Burton’s building and reinstatement of traditional shop front


The former Burtons building currently trading as Dorothy’s Florist and Boppers School Wear is an unlisted building situated in a prominent location within the town centre conservation area of Colwyn Bay.

The brief was to refurbish internal unused floor space to the first and second floor into office accommodation bringing 30 staff from Mott Macdonald into the town. The ground floor commercial premises of Dorothy’s Florist was to have a traditional shop front reinstated using historic photographs of the building. The shop front to Boppers had largely remained intact although repairs and redecoration were required.

Background Information

Historically Burton’s was a clothing retailer founded in 1904 by Montague Burton, at the time of his death in 1952 the company was the largest multiple tailor in the world.

In 1923 Burton’s began to build its own custom designed stores. Prominent town centre corner sites were preferred. Leeds based architect Harry Wilson was hired at this time and developed the Burton house style of building design. The style of architecture is Art Deco with individual stores varying from the more restrained red- brick with neoclassical scroll headed columns to fully fledged Art Deco with glazed white faience tile, geometric patterns and stylised elephant heads. There are also many standard elements such as a wide polished black granite band above the shop windows for signage, metal vent grates bearing the company logo, billiard halls on the upper levels, window lights showing the locations of other Burton stores and mosaic tiles, sometimes with company logo, in the doorways.

At ground level, foundation stones were often placed by one of Montague Burton’s four children or his wife Lady Burton. The stone would bear the name of the child or Lady Burton and the year it was placed.

Project Brief

The project involved reinstatement of shop front to Dorothy’s Florist, repair to the original shop front of Boppers. Refurbishment and conversion of upper floors to create office accommodation. External repairs to building fabric including roof, windows, brick work and rain water goods.

The project brief aimed to:

Key Factors

Conservation work

The most significant proposed alteration to the external fabric was the replacement of the shop front with a contemporary shopfront designed using photographs of the original details.

Internal Alterations

The new design for the building was driven by the intention to reuse empty floor space crating office accommodation for new staff.

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