Prince Albert

Prince Albert

St George

St George

 

The site of the hall was formerly occupied by the first Liverpool Infirmary from 1749 to 1824. Triennial music festivals were held in the city but there was no suitable hall to accommodate them. Following a public meeting in 1836 a company was formed to raise subscriptions for a hall in Liverpool to be used for the festivals, and for meetings, dinners and concerts.[6] Shares were made available at £25 each and by January 1837 £23,350 (£1,894,970 as of 2016), had been raised. In 1838 the foundation stone was laid to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria. A competition in 1839 to design the hall was won by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, a London architect aged 25 years. There was a need for assize courts in the city and a competition to design these was also won by Elmes. The original plan was to have separate buildings but in 1840 Elmes suggested that both functions could be combined in one building on a scale which would surpass most of the other public buildings in the country at the time. Construction started in 1841, the building opened in 1854 (with the small concert room opening two years later). Elmes died in 1847 and the work was continued by John Weightman, Corporation Surveyor, and Robert Rawlinson, structural engineer, until in 1851 Sir Charles Cockerell was appointed architect. Cockerell was largely responsible for the decoration of the interiors.

 

The Concert Hall is the largest area, rectangular in shape, and occupies the centre of the building with an organ on its north wall. To the north of the Concert Hall is the Civil Court and beyond this is the elliptical Small Concert Room. To the south of the Concert Hall are the Crown Court and the Grand Jury Room. Smaller court rooms are on the periphery of the larger courts. The floor below consists of a cavernous basement with cells for prisoners along the west wall. St George's Plateau is the flat space between the hall and the railway station and contains statues of four lions by Nicholl and cast iron lamp standards with dolphin bases. Also on the plateau are monuments, including equestrian bronzes of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria by Thomas Thornycroft, and a monument to Major-General William Earle by Birch. Between the equestrian statues is the Grade I Liverpool Cenotaph which was unveiled in 1930, designed by L. B. Budden and sculpted by H. Tyson Smith. It consists of a simple horizontal block with a bronze relief measuring over 31 feet (9 m) on each side. The Plateau has been associated with public rallies and gatherings, including the deaths of Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, and the homecomings of Liverpool and Everton football teams after Cup Final Victories. During the 1911 Liverpool General Transport Strike, many meetings were held there, including the rally which sparked the 'Bloody Sunday' attacks, when police baton charged thousands of people who had gathered to hear syndicalist Tom Mann speak.

 

In the basement is part of a unique heating and ventilation system devised by Dr Boswell Reid. This was the first attempt at air conditioning in a public building in the United Kingdom, its aim being to warm and ventilate the building without draughts. Air was warmed by five hot water pipes which were heated by two coke-fired boilers and two steam boilers. The air was circulated by four 10 feet (3 m) wide fans. It was controlled by a large number of workers opening and closing a series of canvas flaps. In 2005 the Heritage Group of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers awarded its first Blue Plaque to St George's Hall recognising it as the World's First Air Conditioned Building. Until 1984 the Liverpool Assizes (later the Crown Court) were held in the courtroom at the southern end of St George's Hall. Notable cases heard include those of Florence Maybrick in 1889 and William Herbert Wallace in 1931. The court now often doubles for the Old Bailey in film and TV dramas. All of the facilities are wheelchair accessible. There is a packed calendar of forthcoming events.

 

Location : St George's Place, Liverpool L1 1JJ

Transport: Lime Street (National Rail). Bus routes 8, 9, 10, 10A, 10B, 12, 13, 14, 14A, 14B, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 53, 58, 76, 78, 101, 821, 838 and C5 stop outside. Merseylink Service.

Opening Times: Daily 10:00 to 16:00

Tickets: Free

Tel: 0151 225 6909