Welcome to the Library

The Library brings together stories, films, documents and archival images from one of Liverpool's most iconic buildings. Dedicated in 1717 as a charitable boarding school for poor children, the Bluecoat is the oldest building in Liverpool city centre. In the early 20th century it became the UK's first arts centre, a role that continues today.

This section of our website brings together these different strands alongside the stories of the people who have visited, experienced and participated in our varied activities. We’re continuing to update the Library - and you can help by sharing your Bluecoat memories with us.

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Our Collections

Browse our collections of archival material that focus on themes from Bluecoat’s rich 300-year history, including its architecture, the charity school, our arts programmes and participation work.

The collections represent just a selection of our archive. Here you can discover many more images, documents and videos by clicking the ‘Search the Library’ button. You can filter your search by media type, key word, and time frame.

Much of this archive was developed during 2017, our 300th anniversary year, for our ‘My Bluecoat’ project, in partnership with Liverpool Record Office and Liverpool Blue Coat School, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.