Liverpool's centre for the contemporary arts

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My Bluecoat

My Bluecoat is an ongoing project that brings alive the building’s heritage. It was set up to help celebrate Bluecoat’s 300 anniversary in 2017. With Heritage Lottery Fund support, we delivered a 300-day programme of exhibitions, performances, workshops, talks, tours, a free publication and many participatory heritage events. 

A significant legacy of that year is the My Bluecoat website:, which explores different aspects of Bluecoat’s rich history, bringing together information about the building’s transformation from 18th century charity school to the UK’s first arts centre in the early 20th century.

We collaborated with the current Blue Coat School in Wavertree and Liverpool Record Office on digitising archives held in their collections and by us, making much of the material publicly accessible for the first time. A team of volunteers scanned over 20,500 individual items.

Collections include all our arts programme brochures from the past 40 years, some 200 exhibitions and events posters, documentation from exhibitions in the gallery and offsite, images of the garden, and films documenting music and live art performances. Material relating to the school’s connections to maritime mercantile Liverpool, including the Transatlantic slave trade, is also featured

This valuable and accessible resource provides an introduction to Bluecoat as well as in depth information such as historical documents, from the journal of the school’s founder and principal patron, master mariner Bryan Blundell, to the founding constitution of the Bluecoat Society of Arts in 1927, to a comprehensive list of the exhibitions staged at Bluecoat since 1907 (when Monet exhibited) and 1911 (when Picasso, Matisse and others were included in a ground-breaking Post-Impressionism exhibition).

Other features of the website include 300 ‘Bluecoat facts’, a downloadable schools pack, and a section on people’s Bluecoat stories. These include over 20 specially made short filmed ‘vignettes’ reflecting a breadth of narratives about the building. And if you have a Bluecoat story you’d like to share with us, you can also do this on the site.

If you have any stories to share or want to be involved in the project please use the My Bluecoat submission form and contact

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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