Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Liverpool (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ 35668 87863


SJ 38 NE 7/756

MILL STREET, L8 Florence Institute



Boys' Club, 1889, probably by Herbert W Keef, Jacobean style, pressed brick and terracotta, slate roof (mostly destroyed by fire), end stacks, 2-storeys with basement.

EXTERIOR: Main SW facing frontage 9 bays long, mullion and transom windows, 6 bays of 2-storey canted bay windows between buttresses with ball finials (now removed and stored inside building), projecting flanking bays with arcaded parapets, that to W containing main entrance with decorative scrolled pediment with roundel, entablature, paired pilasters, inscribed relief above reads 'FLORENCE INSTITUTE FOR BOYS', secondary entrance to far E bay, terracotta friezes above canted bays incorporate nautical imagery, cherubs and foliage designs. Polygonal corner tower (dome top removed) at junction of Mill Street and Wellington Road, narrow windows, top windows of 2 round-headed lights with roundels, Lombard frieze and cornice, cross tie-bars. W side elevation: 3 Dutch Gables, 1st 2 bays with 10-light mullion and transomed windows (those to ground floor boarded over), frieze between, fullheight window with cusped lights to end bay lighting main stair, inset blind panels depicting 'Green Man'. E side elevation: Plain brick, Dutch Gable. Rear: Single storey gymnasium, replaced 1970s corrugated iron roof.

INTERIOR: Central spine corridor, blocked openings, former library and kitchen to front, gymnasium to rear, first floor main hall and classrooms. Scissor-braced roof to main hall, proscenium arch to former stage, cast-iron hammer-beam roof to gymnasium. Main open-well stair, Doric style newel posts, bobbin balusters, two secondary stairs to E end (1 dog-leg, 1 open-well), some panelled doors, remnants of cornicing to classrooms. Inserted intermediate floor to gymnasium and late C20 brick security booth in main entrance not of interest.

HISTORY: The Florence Institute for Boys was constructed and opened in 1889. The building was erected by Sir Bernard Hall, a West Indies merchant and former Mayor of Liverpool, in memory of his daughter Florence, and was probably designed by a local architect, Herbert W Keef. The Institute provided a main hall, penny savings bank, library, teaching rooms, and gymnasium, as well as excursions for members. Subscriptions and membership diminished following World War II and with increasing maintenance costs the Institute finally closed its doors in 1988. From the 1960s to 1980s the building underwent some internal alteration and in 1999 it suffered an extensive fire.

SOURCES: Eagar W McG. 1953 'Making Men: The History of Boys' Clubs & Related Movements in Great Britain'. London: University of London Press Ltd. Friends of the Florrie. 2006. 'History of the Florrie'. Available HTTP: http://www.savetheflorrie.org.uk Infed - Informal Education Encyclopaedia. 2006. Available HTTP: http://www.infed.org/ Liverpool Heritage Bureau. 1978. 'Buildings of Liverpool'. Liverpool: Liverpool Heritage Bureau. Pevsner N. & Sharples J. 2004. Pevsner Architectural Guides - Liverpool. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Listed at Grade II in 1975 the Florence Institute for Boys is one of the earliest purpose-built Boys' Clubs in the country dating to 1889; its antecedants including the Whitechapel Institute for Working Lads (1885), St Andrew's Home & Club for Working Lads, Westminster (1885), and Gordon Working Lads' Institute, Kirkdale (1886). Constructed to provide 'an acceptable place of recreation and instruction' the aim of the Florence was to provide educational and recreational facilities for the poor and working boys in and around Toxteth, Liverpool. The building is an imposing structure displaying high quality architectural styling, materials and craftmanship, particularly externally, and although the building has undergone some internal alteration in the 1960s and 1980s and was damaged by fire in 1999 the detail of the exterior remains virtually intact along with the internal floor plan and notable features, such as surviving main and secondary stairs and original door furniture.

Listing NGR: SJ3566887863


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Liverpool Heritage Bureau, , Buildings of Liverpool, (1978)
McG, W, Making Men: The History of Boys Club and Related Movements in Great Britain, (1953)
Sharples, J, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Liverpool, (2004)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 06 Aug 2004
Reference: IOE01/12470/16
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr David Cross. Source Historic England Archive
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