Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

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#ThanksToYou From 3-9 December 2018, we are offering free heritage tours and discounts to National Lottery players. This December as part of the #ThanksToYou campaign, ...


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Ten things you didn't know about the Bluecoat

Built almost 300 years ago, the Bluecoat is the oldest building in Liverpool city centre. It lives up to its billing as ‘Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts’, through regular visual art exhibitions, dance, music, literature and live art events.

The School Lane arts hub also houses a thriving creative community of artists, retailers and creative industries and works with the community to make art accessible to all.

Here’s ten things you (probably) don’t know about the Bluecoat.

1) Stravinsky visited Liverpool in 1934 to give a recital of his music with the violinist Samuel Duskin. While dining at the Bluecoat, he received news that Sir Edward Elgar had just died. Stravinsky immediately got to his feet and praised the English composer, demanding that his fellow diners show their respects.

2) The Bluecoat is home to a diverse collection of independent retailers from record and craft shops to furniture restorers and silversmiths. Interestingly, for the last five years, the Bluecoat’s resident engraver and silversmith, Bob Porter, has been at the Aintree Grand National finishing line ready to engrave the trophies. He also engraved the Premier League football trophy between 2003 and 2008.

3) The Bluecoat closed in 2005 for a £14.75million capital development to improve access, restore its historic facade, and add a new arts wing on the site destroyed by bombing during World War Two. Reopening in 2008, the new building, designed by Dutch Architects Biq, won several architectural awards including The Brick Award for its distinctive use of 'stack bonded' bricks.

4) The Bluecoat hires its studios to over 25 artists and creative industries including a cartoonist, painter and luthier. 

5) There has been a printmaking facility at the Bluecoat since the late 1960's, initially concentrating on the process of etching but now encompassing a broader range of techniques. Since the building reopened, they have adopted the new 'safe' etching process, and silk screen printing has been added.

6) The Bluecoat is the oldest building in Liverpool city centre, built between 1717-25 as a charity school at a cost of £2,500. The building is also believed to be the oldest combined arts centre in the country, established when the Sandon Studios Society, a group of art students and lecturers who'd broken away from the University, occupied the building in 1907 after the school moved to larger premises in Wavertree. Sandon members were instrumental in a successful campaign to buy the building for the arts, establishing the Bluecoat Society of Arts in 1927.


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About the Bluecoat

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

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