Bluecoat Chambers was originally built as a charity school in 1717 and is the oldest surviving building in central Liverpool. It was paid for by Bryan Blundell, a Liverpool sea captain, merchant & slaver. The Bluecoat School remained in this building until 1906 when it relocated to Wavertree. In 1909 the first Lord Leverhulme bought the building with the intention of using it as a centre for the arts. This project never matured in Leverhulme’s lifetime. The building was purchased by the Bluecoat Society of Arts in 1925. After bomb damage in 1941, the building required repair and restoration, there is a memorial stone to this repair in the wall of the northern wing, on your right as you enter the gates. The sculptor Herbert Tyson Smith had a yard at the rear of the building and he executed the memorial. The plaque, in Latin, shows the superb letter-cutting skills and phrasing of Tyson Smith. It translates as: ‘Struck down from the sky by the firebrands of the enemy and partly destroyed on 4th May 1941 restored with dutiful affection in the year 1951’. All the main windows have keystone cherub's heads, six of them were replaced by Tyson Smith, as was the pediment over the main door. On either side of the plaque, there are reliefs of a schoolboy and schoolgirl by the same sculptor.
Alan Maycock © 2008
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