History of the Bluecoat

How a charity school founded in the eighteenth century was transformed into the UK's first arts centre

Dating from 1717, Bluecoat is the oldest building in both central Liverpool and the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also the first arts centre in the UK. This collection provides an overview of the building's development from school to arts centre, through a timeline, publications, images and other material.

Image: Timeline wall at Bluecoat, created for the tercentenary in 2017. The large backdrop image is from a print, Recollections of the Blue-Coat Hospital, Liverpool, St George’s Day, 1843. This lithograph by Thomas Picken was published in 1850 by Skinner, Professor of Water Colouring, Liverpool, and printed by G. Webb & Co, London. The print was after a painting by Henry Travis in the collection of the Liverpool Blue Coat School and shows the school band leading the children through the gates, watched by teachers, school governors and the public.