Harold Cohen Library
Ashton Street, Liverpool University, Liverpool L3

Picture by Jonathan P. Neill
 
Designer: Harold Dod
Sculptor: Eric Kennington (1888-1960)
 

This building is now the University library for science, medicine and engineering. The female figure across an open book above the central window represents 'learning', it is by Eric Kennington, who was better known as a painter. On the outbreak of the first World War Kennington enlisted with the 13th London Regiment. He was badly wounded and sent home in June 1915. During his convalescence he produced The Kensingtons at Laventie, a portrait of a group of infantrymen. When exhibited in the spring of 1916 its portrayal of exhausted soldiers created a sensation. Kennington was also a highly regarded stone carver, whose achievements were ranked in the 1920s and 1930s alongside those of his contemporaries Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill and Frank Dobson. His work has since fallen into neglect.

Harold L. Cohen (1873 - 1936) was the son of Alderman Louis Cohen, a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool. He donated 100,000 for the building of a new library replacing the old Tate Library. This was the largest donation the University had ever received. He died on the day he was due to lay the foundation stone.

There is also a wall-mounted plaque by Herbert Tyson Smith in memory of John Sampson, the University's first librarian. For a translation of the plaque see: Liverpool Monuments

Sources:
Pevsner Architectural Guides: Liverpool by Joseph Sharples
The Sculpture Of Eric Kennington by Jonathan Black
art-ww1.com
liv.ac.uk

Alan Maycock 2008

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