125: Everton Library

Last Saturday saw a flurry of events to mark the 125th birthday of Everton library. There were skechers, scribblers, cake, bird making and John Lennon made an appearance on what would have been his 81st Birthday. 

Gem of Everton Brow

Everton library originally opened in 1886, one of the earliest public book hordes  in Liverpool. The once dubbed ‘Gem of Everton Brow’ also functioned as a technical college and remained open until 1999. Unlike the Millenium Bug it’s state of disrepair became a reality and dereliction prevailed. Emergency repairs were made after flooding and vandalism to ensure the grade II listed building didn’t fall further into disarray. Two previous funding bids to restore the library failed. ‘Open Everton Library’ campaign has acquired funds to complete remedial work commencing this very autumn. Further funding bids for restoration were approved, however with complications around the global pandemic and the central government take over of Liverpool City Council, funding is no longer a certainty. 

Green credentials will be pivotal to retrofitting the late Victorian edifice. Existing features will remain, choices made between historical importance and eco-efficiency to be conducted. Harrison Stringfellow Architects are looking to introduce natural materials: sheeps wool and hempcrete. Hempcrete is a modern material, the combination of substance of millenia old hemp with eco-friendly bio resin to produce a material which is used in a similar way to concrete. Materials and workforce to be sourced locally boosting the circular economy.

‘Lost tribe’, the 140 thousand scattered across the city

The day started with a divide, a creative one in this case. Gathered in the historic St George’s Church, opposite the Birthday Building, two camps were formed: the artists and the writers. North End sketchers made up the majority of the drawers. They picked up their stools, papers, clip boards, trusted pencils and made haste to visually document the once great Victorian structure. The writers were briefed to consider the past, present and the future of the grade II listed home of learning. Biros to lined jotters, some wrote of memories of when the library had functioned, others identified with its current state of disrepair. The two bodies were then to reunite, the urbanscapes were viewed and readings were prevalent. A first rate start to a creative celebration.

Homebaked, the popular Anfield based CIC brought in the pies for lunch, nighlighting the potential for the use of local supply chains from the onset.

Adorning a paper chain of corsages, the aloofness of the sculptural representation was apparent as he stared, off-focus, into the endless heavens.

The celebrations then moved to the marquee sited in the quadrangle in the rear of the library. This gave the children a chance to shine, flapping bird creations in the formation. Mid afternoon all actions were to cease. As ‘Imagine all the people’ took over the sound waves, John Lennon made an appearance. On what would have been the Beatles legends 81st Birthday, he literally got off his trolley. An oversized bronze statue of Lennon was wheeled into the marquee, then resting centrally. Smart phones on hand, the crowds endeavoured to capture images of the immortalised icon of Beatlemania. Adorning a paper chain of corsages, the aloofness of the sculptural representation was apparent as he stared, off-focus, into the endless heavens.

The singing of Happy Birthday was followed by cake. The Poets took the stage and the event was to finish with a projection onto the side elevation of the library.

Open Everton Library is the campaign to reopen the now dishevelled Victorian learning space. They need funding and spreading awareness of the project within the local community. 

A great project, to restore the heritage of the past and to provide the environmentally sustainable future we require.