The Origins of the
Liverpool School of Architecture
and Applied Art:
University College Liverpool and
National Design Culture
THE City of Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art was inaugurated in 1895. It has been briefly described by several authors in the past, 1 all of whom acknowledge that the School was an innovative episode in the history of architectural education, in part because of its alliance with the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement. Its place in the history of architectural education is more easily established than trying to define the Arts and Crafts milieu in which it operated. It was not the first architectural course to be organised in Britain, although it was the first extra-metropolitan one. Nor was it the first full-time course – that had been established by Kings College London three years previously. What made the course unique was a combination of elements; its relative newness, its response to specific cultural circumstances, its funding in part by the municipal authorities, and its adoption of an integrated teaching programme that was briefly to become a teaching norm, principally under the direction of William Lethaby, firstly at the Central College of Arts and Crafts in London and then at the Royal College of Art.
The first architectural instruction in England was to be found at the Royal Academy Schools that were inaugurated in 1768. The value of such instruction was historically undistinguished until the Professorship of Architecture was awarded to Sir John Soane who held it from 1806–37. His commitment to his teaching at the Academy was the reason he felt unable to accept the Presidency of the newly founded RIBA in