This place has been on my radar forever; I knew it was stunning as i had received messages from a previous pupil explaining what it was like inside and that it had been derelict for some time, Its a travesty the owner, despite offers from the local authorities has allowed this building to get in such a state of decay.
Sometimes places like this get a following, a volunteer group and a trust but I fear the fate of this building isn’t going to be a positive one
In May 1864 the Liverpool Adult Deaf and Dumb Benevolent Society was established.
It was founded by George Healey, a Deaf man. He set up the Society initially to give Deaf People equal access to the Scriptures. They started with just one room in the School for the Deaf and Dumb in Oxford Street.
In 1865 the Society held a meeting where they appointed a committee and decided on the rules. They had no premises where they could meet until 1869 when they were able to rent a room on Pleasant Street.
In 1874 the priest in charge of Liverpool gave permission for Sunday services to be held in the cemetery Chapel, St Mary’s on Cambridge Street as it was not being used. These premises were not suitable and the committee decided they needed somewhere permanent.
In 1877 the Society started a building fund. The Mayor of Liverpool then took an interest in the fund and through him her Majesty Queen Victoria made a donation of £5.
In 1886 the committee got a lease from Lord Sefton for the land of Princess Avenue and Parkway. This lease was given for 2000 years.
On 16th May 1887 H.R.H Princess Louise formally opened the Institute.
On 9th November 1927 the Deaf Community suffered a massive loss with the death of George Healey aged 84. Four years later in May 1931 the Society opened the George Healey memorial hall. This would be used as a men’s club where men could play snooker, chess, cards and other activities.
The building at Park Way also had the women’s room where women could go to socialise. The lecture hall was used for lectures, meetings, dances and social gatherings. The chapel in the building was used for services every Sunday at 11am and 6.30pm.
The society provided an employment bureau and sometimes employment for the jobless, interpreters for all occasions, social gatherings for the Deaf Blind and financial help for the poor.
In the late 1980s the Society relocated to Queens Drive in West Derby, Liverpool as this was more of a central place in Liverpool and was easier to access via public transport. The new building was the old Ambrose Barlow School and had a lot more office space.
In recent years, the Society has set up offices within Wirral and Sefton; with hopes of a new modern building being developed on the Queens Drive site.
The services we provide now are very different. The Society employs over 30 staff working across a variety of departments and services.