The Bluecoat Chambers is the oldest grade 1 surviving building in the in the city of Liverpool (Abrahams, 2011). The building stands in the central of Liverpool, between the Church Street, Hanover Street and the Paradise Street. It is exactly situated on the street address ‘School Lane, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 3BX, United Kingdom.’ One can enter the building through the front courtyard off school Lane or through the back off Collage Lane.
Figure 1: Map showing the location of the building (Davis 2014)
The building was built in the 1717 to house the Liverpool Blue Coat Boarding School, which later moved to another site in the 1906. Its construction was funded by Bryan Blundell, a famous slave trader and a highly recognized sea captain (Wessels, 2010). Although it did not earn him any profit, Blundell continued to make improvements to the building until the 1756, when he died. Immediately after Brundell’s death, his son assumed the role of developing the building. Specifically the son expanded the building to accommodate 100 more students, with a new workroom, sick room, refectory and chapel (Davies, 2014). After the son’s death in the late 18th century, the building continued to grow, with ample support from Liverpool citizens, especially the former students of the Liverpool Blue Coat School who had become prosperous after graduating from the school. In particular, the citizens, mostly focused on decorating and expanding the building so that it could look more appealing and hold more students (Konikkos, 2014). They continued to develop the building, until the early 20th century when it got entrusted to other parties such as Lord Leverhulme, the Sandon Studio Society, among others (Abrahams, 2011). Specifically, the Sandon Studio Society, which rented the building in the 1907, has continually made a lot of improvements to the building in terms of expanding, redesigning, decorating and marketing it, up to date (Wessels, 2010).
The Sandon Studio Society, which is now named as the Bluecoat Society of Art, changed the building’s name to ‘Bluecoat Art Center’ in the 1980, and then to ‘The Bluecoat’ in the year 2007 (Anderson, 2009). The building’s name was recently changed to ‘The Bluecoat Chambers’ by the same company.
The Bluecoat Chambers is currently built in bricks with painted stone dressing and slate roof, with a dark brown colour. It is a two-story building, with five-bay centre and two long wings each having eleven bays. The entire building assumes a H-shaped plan with a three-sided, cobbled courtyard in the front side. The front entry to the courtyard has a strong metallic gate assuming an arch shape.
The entire building has sash windows which are round headed, with architraves and cherub keystones. Its main entry is large and round headed with a broken pediment above it. It has a cartouche of the arms of Liverpool above the main entrance and Liver Birds Icons above each entrance to the two wings. The two entrances are reached by steps approximately one and a half meters high.
The building’s front courtyard has a 2-3 meters path leading from the main entrance to the gate, and two rows of grass on both sides of the path. The Path is made of large rough tiles, dark grey in colour.
The rear side of the building is simply flat, with an entry similar to the main entry and sash windows with rounded heads above them. This side faces the collage lane and has a landscaped garden which extends along the sides of the two wings. The garden provides a calm and quiet environment suitable for smooth running of activities inside the building.
Figure 2: A photo showing the courtyard of the building
Figure 3: A photo showing the front side of the building
Figure 4: Steps leading to the wings’ entry
Throughout its lifespan, The Bluecoat has been a creative oasis in the Liverpool city, encouraging a range of practices such as art, craftsmanship and innovative experimentation (Konikkos, 2014). The building has been redesigned severally, giving it an artistic figure. This fact and the fact that it was built long time back suit it to its purpose as the centre of art. In addition, the fact that the building stands at the centre of Liverpool makes it so convenient for the citizens of the city to reach to it more conveniently than they would have to reach for it if it was located on one side of the city. This allows it to support arts activities efficiently.
Abrahams, T. (2011). The Bluecoat, Liverpool. The Progressive Media Group, 1-62.
Anderson, V. (2009). Preview; NEXT UP the Bluecoat, School Lane. High Beam Research, 1-3.
Davies, A. (2014, January 6th). About Us: The Bluecoat. Retrieved December 12th, 2014, from The Blue Coat Information: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/content/visitor-info
Konikkos, P. (2014). The Carter Prestons and Tyson Smiths – A Liverpool Family Tree. Specialist Study, 1-87.
Wessels, R. (2010). Not just but a pretty facade at The Bluecoat. www.thebluecoat.org.uk, 1-6.