300 years at the heart of Liverpool

My Bluecoat brings together stories, films, documents and archival images from one of Liverpool's most iconic buildings. Dedicated in 1717, Bluecoat is the oldest building in Liverpool city centre and the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It began life as a charitable boarding school for poor children, and in the early 20th century became the UK's first arts centre, a role that continues today. This website brings together these historic strands alongside the stories of the people who have visited, experienced and participated in Bluecoat’s varied activities.

Research for the website took place during 2017, our 300th anniversary year, and we’re continuing to update and add to it – with your help. Whether you’re exploring Bluecoat for the first time, or have memories to share, we would love to hear your Bluecoat story. My Bluecoat has been developed in partnership with Liverpool Record Office and Liverpool Blue Coat School and is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Featured Collections

Bluecoat and Slavery

Shape and Structure selected by Emily Motto

The UK's first arts centre

The Blue Coat School

Not just a pretty façade

Sandon Studios Society

Captain Beefheart at Bluecoat

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110/300 Facts


Janek Schaefer performed at Bluecoat in 2009 to accompany his gallery exhibition, Sound Art, on a bill that also featured Liverpool-based turntable pioneer, Philip Jeck.

See more facts

My Bluecoat News


Posters from the archive - Selection by Liverpool-based design company Dorothy


Imagining Bluecoat 1769 - Ed Farrell's paintings, maps & notes


Posters from the archive by Bryan Biggs - Poetry and Spoken Word Events


Bluecoat Curator Adam Lewis-Smythe shares his favourite posters from the archive

My Bluecoat Story

In almost continuous use for three centuries, people have experienced Bluecoat in many different ways: as school pupil, artist, retailer, shopper, arts attender, workshop participant, visitor. This ever-growing selection of stories and short films tells some of their stories.