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Visiting the Victoria Building, Liverpool University, Liverpool, England: 1892 Gothic Revival by Alfred Waterhouse

Updated on April 9, 2012
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Victoria Building, Liverpool University
Victoria Building, Liverpool University | Source
Map of Merseyside, England
Map of Merseyside, England | Source

Architectural distinction and scholarly achievement

This distinguished structure in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, dates from 1892.

Some history and features

Known as the Victoria Building, it was built by architect Sir Alfred Waterhouse (1830-1905)(1) for the former University College, Liverpool. It was executed in Gothic Revival style.

The building is noted for its striking use of Ruabon and common brick, with terracotta facing in a manner to produce a 'Redbrick' style of architecture which subsequently became a popular term to describe many provincial universities in England.

Other features of the building include its gable designs and spirelets. The clock tower contains five bells inscribed with poetry by Tennyson.

University College, Liverpool was founded in 1881, becoming a constituent of the Victoria University of Manchester (2). In 1903, the institution received its own charter as Liverpool University.

The building now contains the Victoria Gallery and Museum.

Distinguished, Nobel Prizewinning scholars associated with Liverpool University include the following: Sir Ronald Ross (Medicine, 1908); Sir James Chadwick (Physics, 1935); Professor Har Bind Khorana (Physiology/Medicine, 1968); Professor Ronald Porter (Physiology/Medicine, 1972); Professor Joseph Rothblat (Peace, 1995).

Distinguished alumnae of Liverpool University include: Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate; Dame Stella Rimington, Director-General of MI5; Diana Walford, medical expert and former Principal, Mansfield College, Oxford and many others.

Distinguished alumni of the University include: Sir Dawda Jawara, former President of the Republic of The Gambia; Lytton Strachey, writer; Sir James Stirling, architect; Sir Frank Kermode, literary critic; F E Smith, Earl of Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor, and many others.


(1) Other buildings for which Architect Waterhouse is known include the Cambridge Union Society Building, work at Gonville and Cauis College, Cambridge and Manchester Town Hall and the Natural History Museum, London.

(2) The building is thus named, certainly, for Queen Victoria. But this Queen's name was also borne by the Federal University based at Manchester, of which the former University College, Liverpool, formed a part.

Also worth seeing

In Liverpool itself, ecclesiastical buildings of note include the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral. The Liver Building has become a noted commercial property along the Mersey River, often seen as symbolizing the city.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Manchester Airport (England) , where car hire is available; rail service to Liverpool is available from Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria railroad stations. Flights to regional destinations are also available from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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