World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

Date

23 May 2015
Location

William Brown Street, Liverpool

SJ 34808 90770; 53.40968°N, 2.98218°W

Information

William Brown (1784-1864), who was born in Ballymena and who had lived for a number of years in America, founded the Liverpool merchant firm William Brown & Co in 1810. He entered into partnership with Joseph Shipley in 1825 to form Brown, Shipley & Co (which survives today as a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based KBL European Private Bankers SA) and over the years the firm’s emphasis shifted from trading to merchant banking. Brown served as Liberal MP for South Lancashire from 1846 to 1859 and was honoured for his philanthropy by having a street named after him. He was also created Baronet Brown of Richmond Hill in 1863.

Following the construction in Liverpool of the monumental St George’s Hall, which was built on the site of the 1749 infirmary and which opened in 1854, there was a vision of transforming the adjoining area then known as Shaw’s Brow into a forum surrounded by grand civic buildings. The idea of a forum was never realised, but the following buildings were constructed in what became William Brown Street: Library and Museum; Walker Art Gallery; Picton Reading Room; County Sessions House; and, finally, the Museum Extension and Central Technical School.

The first of these public buildings, the Library and Museum, was built between 1857 and 1860. London architect Thomas Allom (1804-1872) had been commissioned to design it and his plans were subsequently adapted by Corporation Surveyor John Weightman (1793-1883) in order to save costs. William Brown initially donated £6,000 towards the project, into which the Corporation invested £10,000. Brown later donated a further £35,000 to enable the project to be completed. The new building served as a replacement for the city’s Derby Museum, which housed the natural history collection bequeathed by Edward Smith-Stanley (1775-1851), 13th Earl of Derby and former president of the Linnean Society. The new museum’s collection eventually outgrew its premises and in 1901 it expanded into the newly built extension on its left – designed by Edward William Mountford (1855-1908) – which also housed the Central Technical School.

The building sustained serious damage during World War II when it was bombed in 1941. The Library was subsequently rebuilt in 1957-60 and the Museum in 1963-69 by City Architect Ronald Bradbury (1908-1971), with the original façade being retained. Major alterations were completed in 2005 when the then Liverpool Museum became the World Museum. New galleries were opened, with the museum expanding into the lower half of the extension building, which at the time was owned by Liverpool John Moores University. The old entrance, up a flight of stone steps, was also replaced by a new ground-level entrance leading into a five-storey atrium.

The original building, which houses part of the World Museum and part of the Central Library, has Grade II* listed status.

Further Reading

World Museum;
William Brown Library and Museum (Wikipedia);
World Museum (Wikipedia)

World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

World Museum, Liverpool

for every man his hour

for every man his hour

Entrance hall

Entrance atrium

Sekhmet

The Egyptian lion goddess Sekhmet (meaning powerful one) was a goddess of war and destruction. The museum’s pair of diorite statues are two of hundreds from Amunhotep III’s temple of Mut in Karnak from c1350 BCE. The two statues were pieced back together after having been pulled from the museum’s ruins when it was fire bombed in 1941.

Sekhmet

Sekhmet

Sekhmet

Sekhmet

Helmet mask sowo-wui, Sierra Leone, c1909

Helmet mask sowo-wui, Sierra Leone, c1909

Helmet mask, Sierra Leone, c1913

Helmet mask, Sierra Leone, c1913

Carved Tusk, Nigeria, 19th century

Carved Tusk, Nigeria, 19th century

Chantress of Amun c945-715 BCE

Chantress of Amun c945-715 BCE. Coffin of a woman who worked in a temple, Dynasty 22. Her name started with Ankhesen…

Aquarium

Aquarium

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15 thoughts on “World Museum, Liverpool

  1. Never knew this place existed and I worked in Liverpool for 2 years! Thanks for posting, somewhere new for me to go on one of my occasional visits to Liverpool, looks an interesting place.

  2. Lovely photographs and a very interesting write-up. You were brave, taking those beautiful, warm shots of Sekhemet- I find the statues fascinating but rather unsettling- you’ve brought this out in the photos, too.

    • Thanks, Diana. The irony of those statues of the goddess of war and destruction was that they were themselves broken into pieces when the museum was destroyed by fire bombing during WWII.

  3. Pingback: Liverpool Central Library I | GeoTopoi

  4. Pingback: Liverpool Central Library II | GeoTopoi

  5. Pingback: Central Library, Liverpool | GeoTopoi

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