A HISTORIC town centre building has been restored to its former glory.

Holker House in Railway Road, Darwen, was bought by investment consultant Stephen Milligan in December 2007.

At the time the Victorian building had been empty for two years after being vacated by Blackburn College and needed a lot of work.

Work started in mid-2009 and now it houses five offices and a large conference room available for use by local businesses.

Mr Milligan, 49, originally from the Wigan area, said he became aware of the building in the mid-1980s.

He said: “In 1984 I joined the police and was posted to Darwen, which is how I got to know the building.

“I left the police in 1988 and went into financial services.

“I worked for insurance companies and banks, but now I have worked for myself since 1991.

“It has been a big job here but the building is now in a state where people could come in and use it.”

Mr Milligan, who bought the house for £220,000, said he had put a large amount of money into the renovations and aimed to maintain the its original style.

Among the works were new windows, rewiring, putting in new heating and plumbing, a new roof on the rear extension, and landscaping the gardens to the front.

He said: “Virtually apart from the shell it is a new building. When I took it over it was a wreck.

“Everything that has gone into the building is to the top standard.”

The house was built in 1871 by medical officer Dr George Hindle, and it was named after the family home in Hoddlesden which had been built in 1591.

It was later owned by Dr James Ballantyne, who was mayor of Darwen in 1898 and 1899. He presented the town with the clock that sits above the town hall today.

It has since been used as the Divisional Education Office for Darwen until 1974, when it became the Area Education Architects’ Office.

In 1985 it was taken over by Blackburn College, which vacated the building in 2005.