Blackburne House

Blackburne House is an 18th-century Grade II listed building located on the east side of Hope Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, England. Originally a private house, it became a girls' school and, after a period of dereliction, it is now used as a training and resource centre for women.

Blackburne House
Blackburne House 2018.jpg
Blackburne House
LocationHope Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Coordinates53°24′00″N 2°58′14″W / 53.3999°N 2.9705°W / 53.3999; -2.9705Coordinates: 53°24′00″N 2°58′14″W / 53.3999°N 2.9705°W / 53.3999; -2.9705
OS grid referenceSJ 356 897
Built1788, remodelled 1874-76
Built forJohn Blackburne
Governing bodyBlackburne House Group
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated14 March 1975
Reference no.1356293
Blackburne House is located in Liverpool
Blackburne House
Location in Liverpool


Blackburne House 1930s blazer Badge

The house was built in 1788 for John Blackburne, at a time when this was in the countryside outside Liverpool. Blackburne originally came from Warrington. He was a wealthy salt refiner and a supporter of the slave trade. In 1760 he had been Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

In 1844 the house was bought from Blackburne by George Holt. Holt was a cotton broker and merchant, and an abolitionist. He was also a supporter of women's rights, and on 5 August 1844 he opened the house as Blackburne House Girls' School with a Latin motto which translates as: "Born not for ourselves alone but for the whole of the world." Blackburne House was the first school for girls in Liverpool, and was sited directly opposite the Mechanic's Institute, a school for boys on the other side of Hope Street.[A] Holt was the director and president of the school until he died in 1861, when the school was taken over by the Mechanic's Institute.[1] The building was extended in 1874–76 by W. I. Mason, who added a wing to the north and a central tower.[2]

In 1905 it came under the management of Liverpool City Council, and continued as a school until it closed in 1986.[1]

Current useEdit

The building lay empty until 1994 when the Women's Technology and Education Centre commissioned its conversion into a training and resource centre.[1] Amongst other things the building is used as an examination centre by the Open University.[citation needed] The building is currently a Social Enterprise, running businesses (cafe, nursery, construction company, conference centre, graphic design company) whose profits support a women's college - providing education for local women, including hard to reach and disadvantaged students.[citation needed]

It was announced on 2 February 2016 in the Liverpool Echo that the old Toxeth Community College would be re-decorated for Blackburn House's new Community College not only for women, but for men as well.[citation needed] This new centre would open in December 2017.


Blackburne House is constructed in brick with stone dressings and a slate roof. It has two storeys, a basement and an attic. Its Hope Street front has seven bays. The central bay projects forward and is surmounted by a domical roof with a clock face and an iron railing on its crest. The ground floor contains a rusticated round-headed entrance flanked by paired columns supporting an entablature and a pierced balcony. In the first floor is a three-light window with a tympanum, and rusticated quoins. In the attic floor are three round-headed windows, flat pilasters and a segmental pediment. The second and sixth bays consist of two-storeyed canted bays containing sash windows with architraves. In the attics are two round-headed windows. The other bays have three-light windows with pilasters and tympani containing carvings of foliage and busts in the ground floor. The windows in the first floor of these bays are surrounded by pilasters, entablatures and pediments. On the right side of the building is the entrance to the original house. It has four bays and includes a portico with four Ionic columns. On 14 March 1975 the house was designated it as a Grade II listed building.[3]


A This later became the Liverpool Institute Boys' School, and later the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Pye, Ken (2011), Discover Liverpool, Liverpool: Trinity Mirror Media, p. 46, ISBN 978-1-906802-90-5
  2. ^ Pollard, Richard; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2006), Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 373, ISBN 0-300-10910-5
  3. ^ Historic England, "Liverpool Institute High School for Girls (1356293)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 21 June 2013

External linksEdit