Liverpool School for the Blind, Hardman Street

Liverpool School for the Blind, Hardman Street

The Liverpool School for the Blind was founded by Edward Rushton in 1791, the first such school in the country. The second building occupied by the school, from 1851 onwards, is the yellowing Bath stone neo-classical building on the south side of Hardman Street which was later to become the headquarters of Merseyside Police and later The Trades Union Centre.

 The white Portland stone extension dates from 1932 and sits at the corner with Hope Street opposite the Philharmonic Dining Rooms. It replaced the neo classical school church, designed by John Foster junior, which was built in London Road and moved to this corner site stone by stone in 1851. The architects of the new extension were Anthony Minoprio and Hugh Spencely. The extension has art-deco decoration including (on the Hardman Street elevation) a series of five relief panels by Skeaping illustrating the life and work of the school. From left to right the reliefs show brush making, reading Braille, basket weaving, piano tuning and brush making again. There is one additional occupational relief in the stepped corner with Hope Street, showing knitting. Also, in the corner between Hope & Hardman Street is a monumental plaque commemorating the opening.

The Hope Street Hotel founder and chief executive Dave Brewitt bought the adjoining derelict listed building complex in 2012. He intends to convert the former Blind School, Trade Union & Unemployment Resource Centre and Flying Picket bar. The £5m scheme will include 40 serviced apartment bedrooms, gastro-pub, bistro, chocolatiere and coffee shop, a restaurant which it is hoped can reach Michelin standard, a spa and offices. The complex, built between 1851 and 1931, is opposite the Philharmonic Hall and Dining Rooms on the corner of Hope Street and Hardman Street.

 

2 comments

  • Comment Link Raoul Duke Tuesday, 03 June 2014 12:33 posted by Raoul Duke

    Shame, it would have made a great wetherspoons...

  • Comment Link J Lewis Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:43 posted by J Lewis

    At last. Thank goodness there are plans to use these buildings and hopefully in a 'sympathetic' way.

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