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Heritage Open Days Friday 11th to Sunday 20th September 2020

Peter Elson, Blue Coat For All Project Manager, is leading Blue Coat’s involvement in the Heritage Open Days 2020, and he has some exciting things planned for our virtual visitors!

“This year’s Blue Coat School Heritage Open Days (HODs) will be a totally different experience from previous events as we go fully online, due to the Covid19 health crisis.

Instead of visitors coming into the School as before, over 10 days from Friday 11 to Sunday 20 September, in a series of short but stimulating films, we shall take you on tours of our magnificent Edwardian landmark building, demonstrate our music-making and discuss what goes on behind the scenes.

With music such an important part of the School, our newly restored rare and historic Father Willis organ, centrepiece of Shirley Hall (the assembly hall), will be highlighted with performances by our two new Blue Coat Organ Scholars George Ke and Olivia Stone.

Also Daniel Greenway and Simon Cheung, Old Blues from the Class of 2020, will play some of their favourite pieces to show the amazing versatility of the instrument, now restored to its rich, original Victorian voice. They will also explain some of the secrets of the organ, explain how it works and will even be taking requests from those viewing through our social media channels!

The Father Willis organ restoration was undertaken by its original builder Henry Willis & Sons, one of Britain’s greatest organ companies. As a tribute to its superb work, Daniel Greenway will be filmed playing on six Willis organs in Liverpool, including not only Blue Coat School’s instrument, but also that at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and St George’s Hall.  There will be a map of all the existing Willis organs on Merseyside.

Old Blue Harry Spain, from the Class of 2016, will present an architectural history of the School and former Physics teacher and Old Blue Keith Caulkin will discuss why the School gets involved in Heritage Open Days, as well as his experiences as a teacher during his life-long career at Blue Coat. 

All these films will demonstrate the importance of preserving heritage and the part it plays in the future culture of the School and city.

In addition to the films there will also be teasers with unusual or oddly-angled photos providing clues to the following day’s virtual tour, along with other online activities.  

Each day will feature aspects of our Oral History project, with its treasure trove of recorded reminiscences and anecdotes to create mixed-media assault on your nostalgic senses, such as the School’s evacuation to Anglesey, the Boarding experience and going co-educational again after a 40-year gap.

Two items a day from the revived School Archive will be highlighted, giving an insight into our history and drastic evolution from a charity boarding school to the present academic grammar day school. Reviving the School Archive has revealed objects such as the School Bells, the 18th century Treasurer’s Double-Chair, Account Book registration of John Lennon’s father Alfred, and an 1767 Apprentice Indenture signed by School founder Bryan Blundell.  

We will also be sharing an update from the Bryan Blundell Working Group, set up to examine the role of the School’s founder and his family in the 18th century slave trade.

Twice daily Tweets will keep you updated with what’s being posted for HODs on the School’s website.

There’s never been a Blue Coat Heritage Open Day event like it – so don’t miss out!”


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