In the beginning

The building is of significant historic importance and the location, at the southern end of the town’s historic market place is a key feature of Whitehaven’s Georgian landscape.

The original property was constructed sometime around 1713 by a local merchant, James Milham, at a time when local landowners, the Lowther family, were instrumental in establishing Whitehaven as a significant and important port and trading centre.

The building served as both a warehouse and family residence, which was a common arrangement at the time. The building is of particular historic interest as it was built off the Street. The Lowther family objected to this arrangement and shortly after brought in regulations to require future buildings in the town to be built on the street.

Into the 1900s

James Milham was a prominent sea captain, and in the early 1700’s, like Bristol and Liverpool, Whitehaven was growing in importance in international trade. It was famous for its Rum. Even 20 years ago, the Jefferson Sisters were still selling their own brand Navy Rum from the Bonded Warehouse in the middle of town. When the Captain lived here, there were only his house and the church to be seen. By the 1960s, his house had become a rundown building famous only among local residents for the activities they undertook as members of the YMCA.

And Now!

The building has undergone a number of changes over the years with the previous owners, the YMCA, taking over the building in the early 1900’s. By the 1990s, the house was derelict. The billiard tables were destroyed by a leaking roof, the wood panelling by dry and wet rot.

It was only in 2009 that Howgill Family Centre and Impact Housing decided to buy the derelict building and seek funding to renovate it and turn it into West Cumbria’s first Young People’s Foyer. Seven years later, the first young residents moved in.