The first structure on the site had been a sandstone mansion, built in 1256 on the shore of the River Mersey. Its first owner is not known, but by 1360 it was owned by Sir Robert Lathom.
By the beginning of the 15th century, it was owned by Sir John Stanley. In 1406 Sir John gained permission from King Henry V to build a fortified house, which was named the Tower of Liverpool.
The Stanley family later became the Earls of Derby. By 1737 the house was being leased from the Earl of Derby by Liverpool Corporation. In 1745 part of it was converted into a prison, and the upper rooms were used for civic functions. In 1774 the Corporation bought the building outright. It was demolished in 1819 to allow for the widening of Water Street. The site was used for a row of warehouses until in 1846 the first structure to be known as Tower Buildings was built to a design by Sir James Picton.
The present building (pictured) was designed in 1906 by Walter Aubrey Thomas, and its construction was completed in 1910. Thomas also designed the Royal Liver Building. Tower Buildings was one of the first steel-framed buildings in England. In 2006 it was converted into apartments, and into units for commercial and retail use.