I WITNESS HISTORY

A series of audio dramas which look at historical events from the eyes and in the imagined words of those who were there, or who might have been there.

The Bluecoat Story

1. Bryan Blundell - September 1717

Bryan Blundell, Sea Captain and later twice Mayor of Liverpool – welcomes the gathering for the official opening of The Blue Coat School.

Blue was the colour of Charity and Alms giving. Most of the pupils, boys and girls, were orphans of Seafarers. Its motto was and still is – “Non Sibi Sed Omnibus” (en: ”Not for Oneself, but for All”)

4. Nikki's Story - September 1970

Nikki has just graduated from Liverpool University School of Architecture- which left the Bluecoat Buildings shortly after World War I, and in 1970 was based on Abercromby Square. She first met the Liverpool working class sculptor Arthur Dooley when she chatted with him after Yoko Ono’s first Show at the Bluecoat.
His considered critique was: “Crap! I bet she couldn’t weld a ton of steel a day in Cammell Laird Shipyard!”

They met again, when he and fellow Liverpool artist Brian Burgess held a protest demo outside the Bluecoat. They were protesting against local Merseyside artists being priced out of exhibitions at the Bluecoat by artists from London.
And to protest they were hanging sculptures, tapestries and paintings on the railings outside the Bluecoat.

This is Nikki’s story, Liverpool’s and Merseyside’s story.

2. George Brown - September 1809

A mysterious benefactor watches the progress of George Brown from orphaned son of a deckhand – through the Blue Coat Hospital School, to midshipman, Captain then Owner of a small Trade Fleet of Ships.

And his ultimate repayment of gratitude to the school that raised him out of beggary.

3. Maggie Harding - September 1790

Maggie, a Parlour Maid, reads her brother Bertie’s latest letter home to his mother, telling her about the Blue Coat School’s summer treat for Pupils.

A Ship’s Cruise down the Mersey and on to Anglesey and back.

5. Mrs Hamel Dove Fanny Calder - September 1926

In 1909 she had already rescued the the Bluecoat from dilapidation and possible demolition and had established the Sandon Studios Society Centre for All the Arts, sharing it with the University School of Architecture at the peppercorn rent of £30 per annum, payable to the owner Lord Leverhulme.

1925 and the General Strike led to many Companies going bust. Lord Levehulme has died and his son is selling the Bluecoat building to pay the death duties on the inheritance.

In two weeks flat – she has raised £10,000 (£600,000 in todays terms), but she is still £17,000 short of the asking price. Hope springs eternal in the human breast. And hope is contagious.

41 Heston House, Tanners Hill, London , SE8 4PX

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