Quiggins was home to many small 'alternative' stores that were housed within three linked adjacent warehouse buildings on a site between School Lane, Peters Lane and College Lane in the city centre of Liverpool, UK. Originally established as an antiques business, with parts of the building rented out to other antique traders, it later diversified into providing space for specialist and alternative stores where many of the stall holders were local artists and craftsmen. It was also the home of "Fraggle Radio", an internet based station streaming rock and punk music founded by Dave Carter, and the popular Brook Café provided a late night venue for live alternative music.
The business's first location was on Renshaw Street which opened in 1986, where it adopted the name of the long established (1911 Kelly's Directory at that location!) Quiggins architectural ironmongers which had formerly owned the premises and whose sign still adorned the shop front. The business outgrew the building and in 1988 moved to a larger location on School Lane where Quiggins soon became a significant part of Liverpool's cultural scene. Next to the Bluecoat Centre and only two blocks from the busiest pedestrian traffic on Merseyside, it was seen as an ideal place to trade and congregate.
As part of its Capital of Culture bid, Liverpool City Council drew up the Bluecoat Triangle plan, later to become the Paradise Street Development Scheme, to boost the retail and cultural areas in the city centre, one aspect of which was the proposed acquisition of the building containing Quiggins Centre. Many local residents and businesses lodged objections to these proposals and a well-publicised four-year public relations and political campaign was launched against the plans spearheaded by Peter Tierney, (co-owner & founder) and his supporters. These included a protest march, a petition with over a hundred and fifty thousand signatures presented to Parliament, letter writing and media events, etc.
A Public Inquiry was held in September to November 2003, at which fifty objectors to the scheme were heard, Quiggins being prominent among them. Noted barrister specialising in planning issues, Mr. Robert McCracken QC led for Quiggins; Mr. David Elvin QC for Liverpool Council and Grosvenor Estates. On the Quiggins' team were Joe Kenny, 'Save Quiggins' campaign manager, Prof. Iain Taylor, urban renewal consultant, Mike Franks, planning consultant and other experts and supporters.
Following the hearing, the Planning Inspector, Derek Mumford upheld the proposed CPOs and on 18 May 2004, the development scheme was approved by John Prescott, the British Deputy Prime Minister. This resulted in the issuance of CPOs against several businesses in the development area, including that of Quiggins. A further vigorous campaign was launched in the Spring of 2006 by the owners of Quiggins and its supporter. However last-ditch negotiations between the partners and with the developer, Grosvenor Estates in June 2006, apparently led to an undisclosed agreement and a withdrawal of the Quiggins' challenge.
The CPO was then executed, which reputedly granted Quiggins a compensation claim of £1.2M before legal costs and tax. On 1 July 2006 Quiggins closed its doors for the last time at the School Lane site. By early 2007 the buildings had been demolished except for the retained ornate facade at the corner of School Lane (Palatine Building) which has been re-used by the Liverpool One development as part of a street of boutiques between Church Street and Paradise Street which opened in late 2008.
In late 2006 Peter Tierney opened 'Quiggins AttiQue' in Aigburth, South Liverpool, and continues trading from there while planning a return to Liverpool City Centre retailing. Continuing its ethos of helping small independent businesses gain a strong foothold under the "Quiggins" banner, it had long been Quiggins' intention to acquire the lease to the John Lewis Store (formerly George Henry-Lee) on Church Street, and lengthy negotiations took place with Grosvenor and City Council in an attempt to achieve this. However an announcement on 1 October 2007 declared that Rapid Hardware would take over the premises in 2011.
The name Quiggins is now also associated with a shopping centre on Renshaw Street, Liverpool (the old Central Hall) as it came to accommodate some of the tenants who left Quiggins on Peters Lane after closure, but there is no business connection or ownership link between the two.