Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Georgian Liverpool: Part 3

Continuing our Liverpool journey we departed from the guide book to take some refreshments at the city's oldest pub, Ye Hole in Ye Wall (above).

Standing just off Dale Street in Hackins Hey - one of Liverpool's narrow medieval streets - the frontage certainly looks old (it was built in 1726), but unfortunately the interior has clearly gone through so many changes that there's not much of a Georgian feel to it (it's certainly nothing like Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London, which feels like a proper 18th-century bolthole). Still, we liked the gravity-fed beer pumps, with an upstairs cellar, and it's very unusual to find a building that's retained the same use over such a long period of time.

After a swift beer, we moved on to one of my favourite buildings - The Bluecoat - which is supposed to be the oldest building in central Liverpool (it was contsructed between 1717 and 1725, and later restored after extensive damage in World War II). Rather like Coram and the Foundling Hospital, The Blue Coat Charity School, as it was known, existed to 'teach poor children to read, write and cast accounts, and to instruct them in the principles and doctrines of the Established Church'.

Dr William Moss gives us a realistic glimpse into the lives of the orphaned children:
...the boys are taught reading, writing and accounts; and those intended for the sea are instructed in navigation; the girls are taught reading, writing, spinning, sewing, knitting and housewifery: they are all at school one half of the day, and work the other half: many of the boys are employed in making pins; they are admitted at eight, and put out apprentices at fourteen years old.

It's not known who the architect of The Bluecoat was, but Thomas Ripley, architect of the Old Customs House, seems to be a good bet (see below for a view of it in 1831). After its post-war restoration it was reopened (and renamed Bluecoat Chambers) to coincide with the Festival of Britain in 1951 - it's now a centre for the arts.

Above: Blue-Coat School, Liverpool, engraved by P.Heath after a picture by T.Allom, published in Lancashire Illustrated, 1831.
Source: Ancestry Images.

Photographs © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

Coming next... Rodney Street and the strange case of Mackenzie's Tomb.

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