A RELIC from Warrington’s industrial past left empty for years starts a new chapter with the opening of a new bar in the former Warrington Technical College.

Institution Bar is the first venue to open in the Grade II listed building which is undergoing a transformation which will see it become home to restaurants and bars.

Ray Fox, who is behind the bar with his son Ben and Matt Harding, said: “We took the development from scratch with the electrics, fitting in toilets and plumbing.

“We made sure we could keep as much of the original fixture and fittings as we could.

“The back room with have called The Vault as it used to be the safe and we have taken a vault door from the second floor and had it attached to the wall and it is a really striking feature.

“We had to get a crane in to lift it and different companies to get it in to position.”

The building was completed in 1902 after being designed by William and Segar Owen but once its teaching life was over became the finance office for Warrington Borough Council.

After lying empty for years the landlord decided to open it out to restaurants and bars to fit in to the burgeoning bar scene around the cultural quarter.

Ray, aged 44, added: “I have been drinking in The Palmyra and I found out that the landlord of the building was turning it into units for restaurants and wine bars.

“I am a shareholder in a bar in Liverpool but this is the first time I have been this hands on with a bar.

“We wanted to bring an upmarket feel to this side of the town. I think a lot of people will be surprised.”

And the venue, which opens on Friday, has been designed by the people who have worked on trendy bars such as The Alchemist and Australasia in Manchester.

“We pulled them in so we could have something that is the way forward so instead of having a night out in Manchester and Liverpool you can come to Warrington,” said Ray.