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Victoria Building Liverpool University

The new Victoria Building was erected for Liverpool University College and was opened by Earle Spencer, Chancellor of the Victoria University on Tuesday December 13th 1892. The College was begun  in 1871 with funds from donors of £10,000 each and by public subscription and it obtained a charter of incorporation in 1881 and was admitted in 1884 as a college in the Victoria University, on equal terms with Owens College, Manchester. Further large donations made by Sir A.B Walker, Mr Henry Tate, Mr W Rathbone Mr George Holt, Mt T Harrison and Mr J.T Brunner added to the specific teaching faculties of the institution, with professorships of engineering, chemistry, botany and physiology, as well as of mathematics and physics along with complete laboratories for the study of the subjects.

A new west wing of the buildings in Brownlow Hill, adjacent to the engineering department, which was the gift of Sir A.B Walker was erected in the Queens jubilee year in 1887, at a cost of £16,000, thanks to the generosity of Mr Henry Tate, the wing comprised a lecture theatre, art rooms and a library. The central section of the college building featured a tower 173 feet high with a clock, below which was the noble great hall.

The clock and the bells for the tower were donated by W.P Hartley and other benefactors included Mr Ismay, W.P Sinclair, and Rev Canon Hume who donated valuable gifts of books.

A brass tablet at the entrance to the Tate library was inscribed with Mr Tates Motto and monogram, the college motto “Haec otia studia fovent” (These days of peace foster learning) then Mr Tates “Thincke and Thancke” followed by

“Henry Tate merchant and freeman of the city of Liverpool, counting the gain of wisdom better than fine gold, built and furnished this library as a treasure house of learning and for goodly fellowship of students. A.D 1892”

Victoria Building is a Grade II listed building which was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and completed in 1892. It was the first purpose-built building for what was to become the University of Liverpool. Victoria Building is constructed in Ruabon brick and common brick with terracotta dressings under a slate roof. It is an L-shaped building in three stories with 13 bays. The southerly eight bays have alternate gables and gabled dormers. The ninth bay forms the tower. It has an arched entrance over which is an oriel window and, above this, a three-light window. Over this are the royal coat of arms, a mosaic panel with an inscription and machicolation. The top stage has a four-face clock. At each angle of the tower are buttresses which rise to form pinnacles with lead spirelets. The end bays curve around behind an octagonal tower with a spire. Internally the entrance hall is faced in Burmantofts terracotta. An arcaded staircase leads to the first floor.

This acclaimed historical building has been redeveloped into the University of Liverpool’s museum and art gallery, displaying the university’s collection of art and early medical equipment.

This photograph was taken just prior to the new museum in the Victoria Building Liverpool, being opened. The building had previously been the dental and medical faculty at Liverpool University but had been refurbished and been adapted into being a medical museum.

“Raised by men of Liverpool
in the year of our Lord 1892
for the advancement of learning
and the ennoblement of life”



Liverpool Central Library
London Illustrated News
Liverpool University

Robert F Edwards
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