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

The UK's first arts centre

The Blue Coat School

Not just a pretty façade

Sandon Studios Society

Bluecoat and Slavery

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109/300 Facts


In May 1945, when Bluecoat was Liverpool's main art gallery while the Walker was closed during the War years, an exhibition of contemporary Chinese paintings, arranged by the British Council, was staged.

See more facts

My Bluecoat News


Acanthus returns to Bluecoat garden


The Sandon Studios Society, Liverpool’s artistic rebels


Bluecoat Exhibitions History


Captain Beefheart at Bluecoat, a new collection