Bluecoat creates new jobs with £47k National Lottery funding

Historic picture of Bluecoat
Historic picture of Bluecoat

Bluecoat creates new jobs with £47k National Lottery funding

Bluecoat, Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, is to make two new appointments after being awarded £47,346 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a project charting its 300-year history.

The posts – a full-time project manager and a part-time engagement co-ordinator – have been created to aid My Bluecoat, an initiative documenting the fascinating background of Liverpool city centre’s oldest building as it prepares to celebrate its tercentenary in 2017.

My Bluecoat will bring together the official history of the Bluecoat for the first time, digitising archive material held by the Blue Coat School, which was previously housed there, and Liverpool Record Office, as well as that of the current arts centre.

It will also capture and bring to life stories from the many people who have been affected by their engagement with the building.

The project manager will oversee the development and delivery of this ambitious programme, while the engagement co-ordinator will work with local schools and communities to make sure people of all ages and walks of life are involved in Bluecoat’s celebrations.


Artistic Director Bryan Biggs said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding for what will be an interesting, engaging and important project.

“Against the backdrop of a 300-day programme, My Bluecoat will bring alive Bluecoat’s heritage, charting its transformation from charity school in the 18th and 19th centuries to a pioneering arts centre since the early 20th century, and reflecting its continuing role at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural life.”

Bluecoat is Liverpool city centre’s oldest building, Grade One Listed and located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built in the Queen Anne-style, Bluecoat has been in almost continuous use since 1717. As a charity school for nearly 200 years, then a centre for the arts for over 100 years, the building has a long, symbiotic relationship to Liverpool and its people. It is an active symbol of the city’s cultural heritage, its presence a reminder of the port’s origins and mercantile, maritime growth.

Bryan said: “Themes that span the centuries will undoubtedly emerge during the development phase as material comes together. One that has already emerged is how the building has helped develop young talent, almost continuously from 1717 to 2017, through the commitment of its different occupiers to provide aspirational opportunities for young people.

“The school was established to support children from families facing disadvantage, and now the building develops programmes to support the same target groups to access educational arts and heritage experiences. While the school found apprenticeships for pupils with local businesses, the arts centre now provides creative apprenticeships for local young people.”

Since it was founded in 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £6.8billion to over 39,000 projects. HLF was set up to distribute money raised by the National Lottery to projects that make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities. A further £182,600 has been earmarked by HLF for the My Bluecoat project, to be awarded at a later date and subject to a second round application.

Michael Pennington, Head Teacher at The Blue Coat School said: “We are delighted to be part of such an exciting project. The school’s heritage forms an important part of Liverpool’s history and our time at what is now the Bluecoat Gallery is a fascinating insight into what life was like during 1700’s.”

For more details on both roles, go to