10th July

On this day in 1989, 'Merseyside's ‘The Walking Seeds’ performed at Bluecoat in a multi-media psychedelic extravaganza


1st April

After a group of protestors made the Pentagon levitate 3ft high in 1967, a group of artists managed to do the same to Bluecoat!


June 1985

Pat Whiteread focused on endangered species and environmental threats.


April 1986

Sculptor Tony Hayward exhibited his wall-based works made from recycled domestic and other objects.


18th May 2014

Filippos Tsitsopoulos' organically-masked performance 'Cabinet of Curiosities' made a startling intervention at Bluecoat.


June 1987

Liverpool artist Phil Hughes performed at Bluecoat's 'Home Base' exhibition.


11th April

Xavier Ribas: Nitrate opens at Bluecoat this day in 2015


2nd August 2002

Mexican artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena presented his performance ‘Ex-Centris’ in our concert hall.


July 1972

Jarrow's Bede Gallery exhibition The Gibetting of William Jobling visited Bluecoat, bringing to life a macabre Geordie story.


February 1945

Bluecoat hosted British Drawings from the Tate Gallery, one of many exhibitions staged at the venue during and after the war when The Walker Art Gallery was taken over by the Ministry of Food.


Early 1700s

Bluecoat has Liverpool's oldest Liver Birds in its courtyard: on the gates and above two doors. The largest on the main entrance was constructed after the war. Can you spot two other hidden here?



Lottery funded participation programme 'Bluecoatconnect' started. From it, learning disabled project Blue Room grew.



Old boy of the school, Richard Ansdell – a Royal Academician – painted The Hunted Slaves (1861), which now hangs in Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum.



The secluded garden by Bluecoat's Sandon Room was reputedly once made into an impromptu swimming pool used by artists in the building.


July 1995

Science Friction: Art from Cologne' was one of a series of exhibition exchanges Bluecoat organised with Liverpool's German twin city.


31st May 2003

St Helen's-based artist Claire Weetman's blended performance and drawing in Bluecoat's 'Window Box'.



Master silversmiths R&J Porter, engravers of the Grand National trophy, have been a Bluecoat tenant for 25 years.


Mid 20th Century

Major actors who dined at Bluecoat include Dames Sybil Thorndike & Edith Evans and Sir Laurence Olivier.


13th May 1968

Bluecoat’s relationship with pioneering electronic composer PierreHenry started in 1968 when we promoted the first electronic concert in the North West.


27th July 1987

Holly Warburton's installation at the Anglican Cathedral's Oratory was Bluecoat's contribution to nationwide TSWA 3D 1987 public art project.


9th April

Bluecoat's cobbled courtyard is probably original. An early print however shows a never-materialised paved chessboard design.


6th June 2009

Rev Billy and his Gospel Choir of Stop Shopping performed during a visit to 'cleanse' Liverpool of excessive consumerism.


Early 1700s

Bluecoat's weather-vane once featured a ship, a reflection of the building's close association with maritime trade.


June 2004

Bluecoat hosted the first solo UK exhibition, 'XCultural Codes', of leading artist Susan Hefuna in 2004


10th June 2002

Bill Drummond performed 'How to be an Artist', where he cuts a Richard Long photo into 20,000 pieces and sells them individually.


June 1990

International Gay Pride film festival was in part held at Bluecoat.


9th June 1997

1997 - It was 30 years ago today - Sgt Pepper exhibition marked the release of this iconic album with a new tableau of figures from the intervening years of world news and popular culture.


August 1996

Aerial dance group Momentary Fusion emerged from inside the clock face and descending down the building's facade.


23rd February

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky marked the death of Sir Edward Elgar on this day in 1934, asking fellow diners at the Sandon to pay tribute to ‘England’s greatest composer’ (tickets for the lunch were three shillings).


31st July

North Face, a 1990 Bluecoat exhibition organised by Moviola (FACT), focused on the urban environment in a changing North.


Late 1950s

Bluecoat has appeared fleetingly in the film Violent Playground (1958) and on television in Brookside. Do you know of others?


April 2005

Bluecoat ghost stories abound. TV show 'Most Haunted' filmed in the empty building in 2005 during its refurbishment.


April 2015

Tricia Porter's vivid photographs of Liverpool 8 were shown, some 40 years after they were taken.


July 1995

Juginder Lamba's solo exhibition of beautiful wood carvings, From the Wood, extended into the Bluecoat garden.


22nd April 1912

Sandon Studios Society exhibition of Modern Art launches on this day, enhancing the groups reputation for the radical within the Liverpool art scene.


February 1968

Artists Arthur Dooley and Brian Burgess hung their art on Bluecoat railings protesting at local artists being 'priced out' of showing in the gallery. For many years after, displays by local artists on the railings were a feature of the building on a Saturday.


1st May 1989

May Day's revolutionary spirit was evoked by Russian avant-garde artists who took over Bluecoat in 1989 and Pop Mechanica played St George's Hall


April 1987

A crucifix with coathooks by Reinhard Henning was included in Bluecoat’s first exchange exhibition with Cologne in 1987.


11th July

This month in 1932, Liverpool architect and studio member at Bluecoat, Lionel Budden, gave a talk on 'What we saw in Russia'


April 2013

Five Blue Room artists (Eddie Rauer, Michelle Edwards, Veronica Watson, Anna Patterson and Laura Aquilina) traveled to Ireland to collaborate with Dublin-based inclusive theatre group Doors to Elsewhere on an immersive event. 'The Dinner Party: Not Just a Dublin Coddle' was a participatory arts dinner party involving video, performance, and visual arts.


June 1998

Artist and sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp was at Bluecoat with her solo show 'Alali'.


June 1983

1983 exhibition Past Imperfect reflected Marc Camille Chaimowicz's elegant practice embracing installation, applied arts, performance and sculpture.


21st April 2001

Marion Coutts, MOMART Fellow at Tate Liverpool opened her solo Bluecoat exhibition.


May 2009

During their 2009 Variable Capital exhibition, artists Common Culture hired bouncers to police the gallery spaces.


15th May 2002

Amanda Coogan's 'Beethoven the Headbangers' opened the 2002 Biennial with furious headbanging to Beethoven in Bluecoat's courtyard.


3rd August 1960

The Sandon Music Group presented British composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies at Bluecoat.


14th March 1980

Women’s Images of Men 7-28 March features many leading artists including Dame Elisabeth Frink


10th April

Simon Rattle frequented Bluecoat in his teens, playing with Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and meeting conductor John Carewe.


21st July 2008

Leading deaf and disability arts organisation DaDaFest moved into Bluecoat, becoming part of its creative community. The building has hosted many DaDaFest events including its biennial festival.


March 1994

Ann Whitehurst's ‘On the Map: Placing Disability’ exhibition addressed access issues at Bluecoat and in Liverpool


June 1988

Vincent Woropay's welcoming hand sculpture in Bluecoat's courtyard was shown in the Distant Thunder exhibition.


18th July 2015

RESOURCE' group exhibition launches. Laurence Payot's works Symbiosis: Social Experiments with Living Scuptures was created in collaboration with Blue Room who tested out prototypes for wearable sculptures and feature in video pieces.


17th May 2011

Rhys Chatham's 2011 multiple guitar performance at Bluecoat led to an opening Biennial 2012 event at Liverpool Cathedral.


19th July

James McNeil Whistler's Velarium was on display at Bluecoat as part of the 2014 Biennial.


8th April 2008

Bluecoat launched Blue Room on this day in 2008, a weekly arts programme for adults with learning disabilities with 33 members


April 2002

Turkish artist Sumer Erek presented his life sized ‘Upside Down House’ in the front courtyard.


13th April

Exhibition this month in 1993 by Widnes-born Melody Maker jazz illustrator Mal Dean (1941-74)


7th July

The annual Arabic Arts Fest was founded by Taher Qassim and Bluecoat artistic director Bryan Biggs.


11th May 1928

Sir Edwin Lutyens, architect and designer of the Cenotaph at Whitehall, visited Bluecoat for lunch.


25th May 1989

The Cookie Crew, the UK's 'most successful girl rap team', perform at Bluecoat in the concert hall, now the Bistro upstairs


18th June 1991

Nearby Chavasse Park was occupied by a Bluecoat commission by Those Environmental Artists (TEA), responding to the city centre in transition.


12th July

Peter Hagerty's1984 Bluecoat show 'The State' revealed the sartorial innovation of Liverpool's trendy nightclub in Dale Street.


25th July 1800

107 children ran away from the school. 200yrs later, Susan Fitch created an installation work in response on our railings.


2nd May 1908

Bluecoat's first exhibition of modern art opened on this day in 1908. Organised by the artists group based in the building, the Sandon Studios Society, it featured a painting, 'Etretat', by French Impressionist Claude Monet, 22 works by Augustus John and Sandon members.


23rd May

Known as the 'City of Liverpool Art Gallery', Bluecoat was used during and after the War to host many exhibitions while the Walker Art Gallery was closed having been requisitioed by the Ministry of Food.


17th July 1913

Discussion on Post-Impressionism during the second show of work at Bluecoat.


20th March 1998

MDI's dance performance 'Growing Older (Dis)gracefully', dancers over 40 challenged perceptions of middle age


7th May 2004

Grace Surman​'s solo performance​ ​'​White​'​ was part of Bluecoat's Liverpool Live programme for the 2004​ Biennial​.


July 1975

Liverpool Polytechnic sculpture students exhibited in the Bluecoat garden in 1975 was the first of many outdoor art displays there.


23rd April 1843

The pupils of the Blue Coat hospital were involved in St. George's day parades each year, with that of 1843 being commemorated in a popular print.



Vincent Van Gogh's work was shown twice at Bluecoat, in the Post-Impressionist shows of 1911 & 1913.


March 1730

Ann Cleveland left 8 buildings across Liverpool to the school in March 1730.


Early 1900s

Bluecoat's impressive etching press was reputedly used before WWI by Augustus John. It's still in use by printmakers today.


Early 1900s

Bluecoat's popular printmaking studios started with acquisition of an Albion etching press, reputedly used by Augustus John.


14th May 1984

John Carson visited US towns immortalised in song, bringing his singing performance about them, American Medley, to Bluecoat.



When Bluecoat was built 300 years ago it had three statues high up above its entrance representing faith, hope and charity.


23rd March 1996

Bluecoat's 'Live from the Vinyl Junkyard' opens. It included Philip Jeck's installation of record players.


26th May 2010

US poet Chuck Perkins performed in Bed-In at the Bluecoat, one of over 60 daily events in tribute to John & Yoko.


April 1977

Wallasey surrealist George Jardine, who had a studio at Bluecoat, had a solo exhibition 'From Landscape to Fantasy'.


8th June 1990

Sun Ra performed a legendary gig with his Cosmic Love Arkestra at Bluecoat in 1990


May 2009

Bluecoat commissioned 'Twins' by ​Angie Hiesl​ involving identical twins was staged at what is now Camp and Furnace ​in 2009.


May 1995

Reflecting Liverpool's economic decline and betrayal, Nina Edge's1995 performance Sold Down the River went from Bluecoat to Albert Dock.



Ceramicist Julia Carter Preston was commissioned to produce the 50th anniversary plaque for the Bluecoat Society of Arts.


11th March 1992

Pianist Stan Tracey performed at Bluecoat, one of many British jazz musicians to perform here.


22nd May

Yellow House carried cargo from Albert Dock to Bluecoat in Philip Courtenay's 1992 Lode performance about globalisation.


Late 1960s

Liverpool poets Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten first performed at Bluecoat in the 60s.


June 2015

Anne Harild worked with our Blue Room group to produce 'We Approach', a colonnade-like sculpture inspired by the building.


12th March 1911

An exhibition of works by the Post-Impressionists, including Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin, opens. Liverpool artists from the Sandon Studios Society showed alongside their Continetnal counterparts whose work had shocked London earlier in an exhibition organised by British artist and writer Roger Fry.


March 2009

David Osbaldeston and David Mabb were both featured in the '4x4' exhibition.


5th July

On this day in 1989, John Willett gave a talk about German artist John Heartfield, in an exhibition of his pioneering images at Bluecoat


5th May 1995

The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs ​collaborated on a performance on Church ​S​t ​for Bluecoat's Summer in the City '95.


8th August 1716

Bluecoat accounts for this date include payments for timber, iron, and beer for the workmen and smiths making the gates.


June 1992

Three Bluecoat exhibitions titled 'A Pool of Signs' showed engagement with postmodernism from a distinctly Liverpool perspective.


4th March 1927

Sandon founding member Fanny Calder presented with a medallion and certificate in recognition of her work leading the campaign to save Bluecoat, which resulted in the setting up of the Bluecoat Society of Arts to run the building and formally constitute the UK's first arts centre.


June 1988

Bluecoat's origins as a school funded partly on profits from slavery were referenced in Andrew Robarts' installation.


5th April 1985

The exhibition Black Skin Bluecoat opens. It features four young artists from the emerging Black Art Movement, including Sonia Boyce, Eddie Chambers and Keith Piper, who all continue their relationship with the gallery through exhibition projects, most recently Piper's Unearthing the Banker's Bones in 2016.


March 1997

Nina Saunders' Hidden Agenda show saw leatherette padded interventions in the gallery and on the building's windows


April 2015

Xavier Ribas: Nitrate opens, charting the history of nitrate extraction in the Chilean Atacama Desert.


15th February 1913

Bluecoat hosted its second Post-Impressionist exhibition. Alongside Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh, British artists were included, including members of Liverpool's Sandon Studios Society, and Duncan Grant, whose decorative work was the subject of a historical exhibition in the gallery over 60 years later in 1980.


February 1974

David Saunders showed his 'serial paintings'. The gallery then occupied where Tickets & Information now is.


27th June 1796

Nicholas Ashton succeeds Bryan Blundell's son Jonathan Blundell as school treasurer markign a break from the Blundell family.


Early 1900s

Influential sci-fi author Olaf Stapledon, was a member of Sandon Studios Society at Bluecoat in the early 1900s.


February 1994

Artist Janet Hodgson projects the repeated school punishment lines "I must learn to know my place" onto the Bluecoat building, a reference to the building's oiginal finction as a school.


June 2011

For Bluecoat's 'Democratic Promenade' show Oliver Walker installed thousands of dolls reciting a UK constitution.


8th May

When Bluecoat was up for sale in 1925/26, the big ground floor room was leased as a car showroom


June 1984

Bluecoat's garden was transformed in 1984 by Manchester's SIGMA studios, part of exhibition series Sculpture in a Garden.


8th July

RESOURCE group exhibition launches on this day in 2015. Laurence Payot's works Symbiosis: Social Experiments with Living Scuptures was created in collaboration with Blue Room who tested out prototypes for wearable sculptures and feature in video pieces.


July 1995

Liverpool-born Chila Burman's Bluecoat exhibition presented prints, video & mixed media by an artist now in Tate's collection.


June 1993

Bashir Makhoul's Al Hejara at Bluecoat was an early exhibition of art relating to Palestine.


April 1987

AdrianHenri & George Melly were phtographed together at Henri's Bluecoat retrospective in 1987.


June 2000

Turner Prizewinning artist Martin Creed's exhibition 'Martincreedworks' filled the gallery with hundreds of red balloons.


7th June 1982

Our exhibition Contemporary British Tapestry challenged some of the preconceptions around tapestry.


6th July

The exhibition Seen Unseen was at Bluecoat in July 1994, included work by Yinka Shonibare and Lubaina Himid.


28th May

1928: Exhibition of Modern Art opened at Bluecoat by Osbert Sitwell (elaborate here)


16th May 1998

Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison's Artranspennine project mapped the North in the shape of a green dragon.


30th May 1986

Liverpool performance artists Bob Connolly & Phil Hughes played 'Executive Golf' in Bluecoat's front courtyard.


20th May 2008

Richard Dedomenici handed out balloons at Bluecoat saying Bored of Art, and Bored of Shopping in nearby shopping mall.


6th May 2004

Aleks Danko's Biennial​ ​performance 'Rolling Home​​' involved rolling large ​'soft' blue houses ​into Bluecoat​'s courtyard.


March 2014

Our Baby Book Club started in 2014 and has seen plenty of mums, parents, carers & babies discover a love of books.


17th April

Tyson Smith's Bluecoat sculpture studio created much art for churches in the region.


March 1991

Bluecoat staged a major two part exhibition of Irish art curated by Brian McAvera (use image of Michael Bulfin sculpture being installed in the front courtyard)



300 years ago Bluecoat was built, making it Liverpool's oldest city centre building. The Latin inscription over its entrance is a reminder of its origins as a charity school: ‘Dedicated to the Promotion of Christian Charity and to the Instruction of Destitute Children in the Principles of the Anglican Church in the Year of Salvation 1717’.


3rd April 1821

John Harrocks presents the Willis Organ to the school. This was removed to the new site in Wavertree when the school moved out of the building in the early 1900s.



In 1907 the Sandon Studios Society, an independent art school, moved into the vacant Blue Coat school building, establishing an arts presence that continues today. Their exhibitions and events led to Bluecoat becoming the UK's first arts centre.



WilliamMorris was born 24th March, 1834 - Public View artist David Mabb exhibited work made from Morris wallpaper at Bluecoat in 2009.



The acclaimed silversmith Stanley Hill held a studio at Bluecoat for many years, exhibiting over 2800 works at the Bluecoat Display Centre.



Bluecoat has held children's participation events since the 1980s, a legacy we continue to this day.



The Sandon Society was set up as a group embracing those "interested in something more than fashion and football and bridge".


Early 1913

1913 the Women's Citizens Association, the oldest women's organisation in Liverpool or any other UK city, held its meetings at Bluecoat. Its president was social reformer Eleanor Rathbone.


July 2008

New Ends, Old Beginnings' was one of many exhibitions of contemporary Arab art presented by Bluecoat over the past 25 yrs.


15th March 2008

Bluecoat building reopens after 3 years of capital development with award winning new extension designed by Rotterdam architects, Biq.


July 1990

Art in Chaos' was a richly layered solo exhibition at Bluecoat by John Hyatt, singer of John Peel post punk favourites The Three Johns.


16th July 1907

When Lord Leverhulme was awarded the money from associated newspapers he funded the first school of Architecture and Civic Design which relocated to Bluecoat and led to the renaming to Liberty buildings. His original bequest of £1200 was increased with a reissue of shares later to £4000.


July 1989

In the 80s/90s Bluecoat hosted several shows by Black British artists curated by Eddie Chambers including 'Black Art: Plotting the Course'.


4th Aug 2015

Anne Harild, the recipient of the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award (ARMA) launched the commission, We Approach. The colonnade-like structure inspired by the architecture of the building was produced in collaboration with members Blue Room and Out of the Blue during Anne's residency at Bluecoat.


13th June 1987

Bluecoat staged its first exhibition exchange with Liverpool's German twin city of Cologne. An exhibit by Reinhard Henning included a perspex heart full of live maggots, which attracted the attention of the RSPCA. Other works included a bucket of singing carrots and a crucifix festooned with coat hooks.


July 2011

Bluecoat's exhibition 'Honky Tonk' drew parallels between Texas & Liverpool, the Scouse love of country music & honky tonk bars.


19th March 2003

Hammertown' a touring exhibition of Canadian artists including Geoffrey Farmer’s Trailer (2002) is shown at Bluecoat.



Liverpool's own Lily Savage compered an event here, part of Merseyside Festival of Comedy, who had offices at Bluecoat.


22nd February

In this month in 1949 Liverpool's long running trad band, the Merseysippi Jazz Band, was formed. An early broadcast on the BBC was recoded at Bluecoat. Many UK and international jazz musicians have since performed at the venue. In 1993 an exhibition by Mal Dean included many jazz drawings.


24th May 2009

Janek Schaefer performed at Bluecoat in 2009 to accompany his exhibition, 'Sound Art'.


12th May 1988

Liverpool performers Visual Stress' 'Death by Free Enterprise' cleansed Bluecoat of its slavery history the week Tate opened.


29th May

Restoration of King Charles 2nd was a public holiday for Bluecoat pupils


15th June 1990

Sophie Horton's concrete structures in exhibition 'New Sculpture' were a feminist critique of phallic brutalist architecture.


4th April 1972

Captain Beefheart, US rock legend's first ever exhibition of paintings opens at Bluecoat on this day in 1972. Claiming his "forbears walked around with Rembrandt", he described his painting technique as "just exercising my arm, like an ass swishing its tail".


February 1969

some fact


4th May 1941

Worst nights of bombing of second world war blitz and many iconic Liverpool buildings severely damaged or destroyed.


June 2009

Rules & Regs invited live artists to respond to Bluecoat and its performance history


21st May

In 2008 Geraldine Pilgrim's Trace performance with Blue Coat School pupils evoked the building's previous life as a charity school.



An engraving of the Blue Coat School by H. Hulsbergh was commissioned and sold to help raise money for the school in 1718.


February 1989

The first Video Positive biennial festival of video art in the UK takes place in Liverpool, including Bluecoat where its organisers, Moviola, were based. After 14 years they moved to a new building as FACT, whose current Director, Mike Stubbs, exhibited an installation at Bluecoat involving a desert island, stuffed seal, glitterball and black condoms suspended from the ceiling filled with water.


27th February 1723

The will of the school's first master, accountant William Trenow is dated this day of 1723 and leaves his best suit to Robert, the younger son of Ellen Bibby



The popular Bluecoat garden was once the playground for girls at the school. The boys' playground was behind an extension to the school that continued up School Lane on the site of the present Friends Meeting House.


3rd May 1716

Foundation stone of building was laid in 1716 on this day.


June 1980

Football was the focus of Clive Hickinbottom's exhibition of ceramics at Bluecoat.


5th March 1972

British sculptor William Turnbull displays his geometric tubular metal scupture in Bluecoat's front courtyard as part of the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation's City Sculpture Project taking place in cities across the UK.


3rd July 2003

Artist Elin Strand performed her installation piece Speaking Bernina.


14th February

Liverpool artist, poet and performer, Adrian Henri exhibited and read poetry many times at Bluecoat. His first exhibiton was in 1958. In 2014 Bluecoat's print studio produced a print featuring a pink Henri heart.



Charles Reilly moved the University of Liverpool School of Architecture to Bluecoat in 1909, the department would remain here for 9 years and continue to exhibit at Bluecoat, renewing the relatiosnhip in 2017


August 1996

Adrian Henri & Labi Siffre performed poetry in the Bluecoat garden.


March 1912

Founding father of the folk-song revival Cecil Sharp gave a lecture at Bluecoat on folk songs and dances.


Early 1900s

Before the First World War, the Sandon Studios Society, the artists group at the heart of Bluecoat's cultural life, welcomed many visitors. Trade Union leader Tom Mann, who led the 1911 Liverpool General Transport Strike, reputedly stood on a chair in the Dining Room to sing socialist anthem 'The Red Flag'.


15th April 1989

On this day in 1989 Liverpool artist Geoff Molyneux creates a maze of cardboard boxes in the Bluecoat front courtyard as part of the exhibition New Art Merseyside.


June 1994

Nina Edge ended her 1994 John Moores residency with Virtual Duality at Bluecoat, part of our long relationship with the artist.


March 1985

Pat Whiteread displayed art about endangered species in her 1985 exhibition Conservation Pieces.