Design Culture in Liverpool, 1880-1914: The Origins of the Liverpool School of Architecture

By Christopher Crouch | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
The Inauguration and Evolution
of the Integrated Course at the
Liverpool School of Architecture
and Applied Art

IT should not suprise us that when the aims and objectives of the new Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art are scrutinised, a number of contradictions emerge. Neither should it be a suprise to find those contradictions have already been identified in the wider aspects of design culture within the city. A body of opinion sees the Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art as a paradigm of Arts and Crafts education; 1 yet even a cursory comparison between Jackson's inaugural address, and Professor Simpson's first scheme of work, shows substantial differences in expectation for the course. Jackson looked to a national vernacular design rooted in the past; Simpson looked to the new experiments in architectural education in the United States. What links the two men was their interest in methodology. If the early American influence on design thinking in Liverpool is emphasised, it fundamentally alters the traditional perception of the evolution of ‘Beaux Arts’ training in Britain, placing its origins in Liverpool a decade earlier than has previously been thought. It also alters the ideological perception of the Beaux Art style as practised at Liverpool in the early twentieth century, because the style emerged from within the Arts and Crafts debate, and was not solely a reaction against its ideas.

The Liverpool School was formally opened by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool in the University Arts Theatre on 10 May 1895. His views on architectural education are not of quite the same authority as those of T. G. Jackson, who gave the inaugural address, but are worth a glance

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