THE mayor of Weston, Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, is helping to restore the town's historic former Weston Mercury building.

The "remarkable" Waterloo Street site is being converted into town council offices.

Cllr Crockford-Hawley said: "Wearing two hats this time! As well as being Mayor I'm also Chairman of the HQ Working Party which is restoring the old Mercury building and converting it into offices for the Weston-super-Mare Town Council with facilities for public use.

"You may have noticed the new wrought iron gates that have just been added to the Waterloo Street frontage.

"They're a magnificent example of local craft work and I'm told have been modelled on the gates in front of Worle's High Street War Memorial."

Speaking earlier this year, a spokesperson from Weston Town Council added: "The first edition of the Weston super Mare Gazette, printed in February 1845, marked the beginning of an era. With its tiny font and densely packed information, it was as revolutionary at the time as modern digital communication is today.

"Fast forward to 1885, and the Mercury moved into a remarkable building that would be its home for more than a century.

"Weston Town Council is breathing new life into it, transforming this piece of history into its new council office.

"Adam Cashmore, a site manager with John West Contractors and a veteran of 35 years in the field, has been overseeing the refurbishment and reinstatement of the stone gables to the front tower of the former Mercury office.

"Now set to become the head office for Weston Town Council, this project holds a special place in Adam's heart.

"Having worked on several projects with the town council, including the Weston Museum, Adam reflects on the significance of this building to him as a lifelong resident of Weston-super-Mare.

"It's a landmark that holds memories for many locals, a symbol of the town's character and resilience.

"Mike Coles, who worked at the Weston Mercury from 1972 to 2017, shares haunting tales of the building's old, creaky, and spooky nature. Doors that would open and shut on their own and the unsettling atmosphere at night painted a vivid picture of its historical charm.

"Mike recounts the evolution of the printing process within its walls, from the dangerously hot liner type room with its glass roof and potbelly stove to the introduction of computer-based work that marked a significant shift towards modernity and safety.

"The discovery of the building's precarious structural state during renovations highlighted its fragility and the challenges faced in preserving such a historic edifice.

"The community's efforts to maintain and refurbish the building underscore the importance of safeguarding our architectural heritage."