THE Blue Coat School will be open for Heritage Open Days 2018 next weekend (15/16 Sept), giving the public a rare chance to hear free recitals on its historic museum quality Father Willis pipe organ.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy guided tours by Sixth Form students and talks in this landmark Historic England Grade II* listed building, opened in 1906, which is part of Liverpool’s incredible architectural heritage.
The School will be open with free entry on Sat/Sun 15/16 September at 11am-4pm, for Heritage Open Days, England’s biggest festival of history and culture, which is run locally in association with the Wavertree Society.
For the first time, informal illustrated talks on the School’s history will be given by Peter Elson and Keith Caulkin, of the Development Office. Blue Coat Sixth Form students will give regular guided tours lasting about 45 minutes.
Talented Blue Coat music student Simon Cheung, 16, will play several short recitals during the weekend on the 1874-built Father Willis organ, which is the subject of a restoration bid in association with Heritage Lottery Fund.
Although Blue Coat dates back to 1708, the present School buildings were opened in 1906 after the Blue Coat Hospital (as it was then called) relocated to south Liverpool from its original city centre Georgian premises, now occupied by Blue Coat Arts Centre. The Father Willis organ was initially located here before being removed to the new Wavertree site, where it remains today.
These magnificent Edwardian buildings, in English Renaissance style, by architects Briggs, Wolstenholme, Hobbs & Thornely, who also designed the Port of Liverpool Building (one the Pier Head’s Three Graces), epitomises Liverpool at its mercantile zenith as Second City of the British Empire.
Visitors can experience historic features including the elegant Foundation Boardroom and the beautiful Christopher Wren-style domed Chapel. In complete contrast is the new modernist 2002-4 extension, which has allowed the School to expand its capacity and make it fit-for-purpose in the 21st century. A brand new Sixth Form Common Room has also been incorporated into the 1906 Foundation Building.
Cat Gransden, Blue Coat School Director of Development, said: “In past years the School has only opened for one weekend of the Heritage Open Days.
“Due to demand from the public wanting to see inside the whole of the School, with its landmark clock tower, we decided to give people the chance to visit over both weekends. We had 250 visitors last year, so we expect to double that by opening for the full four days.”
- Open: Sat/Sun 15/16 Sept at 11am-4pm; entry free at Clock Tower main doors
- Regular 45 minute tours will run during opening times of 11am-4pm (no booking required, but last tour 3pm)
- Free refreshments of tea, coffee and biscuits will be available during the opening.