Helicopters in Paradise Street?

A scheme in the 1950s and early 1960s saw city-centre helicopters as the way to promote urban mobility and inter-city travel. New technology would get this form of transport right to the heart of Liverpool. An article in the 2014 (volume 163) of Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire examines the plans for heliports. Liverpool’s City Engineer considered the possibility of such a heliport on top of a multi-storey car park or bus station. Why did the scheme disappear? Read the article in the Athenaeum Library or in Liverpool Central Public Library.

Janet Hollinshead

Summer in the Library

Summer in the Library

‘Talking Revolution’ – Book Launch, May 5th 7 – 9pm

This event, organised by Liverpool University Press and the English School of the University, marks the publication of two important volumes on the poetry and life of Edward Rushton, the Liverpool pamphleteer, philanthropist, anti slavery campaigner and poet.  Among the speakers will be Professor Paul Baines of Liverpool and Dr Franca Dellarosa of Bari University.  Refreshments available.  Donations encouraged.

Light night, May 15th 7pm-10pm

Like dozens of other venues throughout Merseyside we will once more be taking part in this nocturnal arts and performance event.  We are offering guided tours of the Library at half hourly intervals and are charging the public £5 each.  Please come along to help to manage the evening, enjoy the company and see the Library treasures. Refreshments available.  If you would like to help in the evening’s proceedings please contact David Brazendale.

18th Century Worlds – Athenaeum Joint Workshop 4th – 6th June

This annual event brings the Athenaeum to the attention of academics from all over Europe.  The theme this year is the social, economic and political consequences of the development of tea, coffee and chocolate drinking in the 18th cent.  The keynote speaker is Professor Markman Ellis.  All Proprietors and Friends of the Library are welcome to the inaugural session and to join the workshop. Please note there is no charge for attending the lecture.

Antiques Evening, June 11th 7pm

Jeremy Lamond who frequently appears on television antiques programmes has offered his service for an evening where he will appraise and evaluate your antiques, curios and collectables.  We are having a two course supper with a Spanish theme (wine included) at a cost of £28.50.  Bring along your items and see what he can tell you about them.

In September date and time to be confirmed

The Records Society of Lancashire and Cheshire are celebrating the publication of the 150th volume on the history of the two counties.  The Athenaeum is a member of the Society and Proprietors will be welcome.

Athenaeum & 18th Century Worlds – Annual Workshop

Coffee, Tea and Chocolate: Fuelling Modernity

Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Workshop

Liverpool Athenaeum

4th – 6th June 2015

Timings to be confirmed


The annual joint workshop of the Athenaeum and 18th Century Worlds Study Group if to take place on 4 – 6 June 2015.  Proprietors and members of the Friends of the Library will be very welcome at the inaugural lecture by Professor Ellis and also to join the workshops.

If you wish to participate please inform Prof Rosenhaft on dan85@liverpool.ac.uk

This two day workshop will be hosted in the Library of the Liverpool Athenaeum, founded in 1797 to provide ‘the conveniences and accommodation for the acquisition of knowledge…in a town of such commercial and national importance as Liverpool’.

This year’s topic is ‘Coffee, tea and chocolate: Fuelling modernity’.  The workshop will be introduced by a public lecture delivered by Professor Markman Ellis, entitled     ‘A Most Civilizing Juice’: Tea between China and Britain in the eighteenth century.


Given the centrality of these new commodities to the structuring of everyday life, commercial relations and sensory economies in the long eighteenth century, we anticipate and want to encourage a decidedly interdisciplinary conversation. Topics for discussion might include;

  • The social and cultural manifestations of the consumption of new luxury food products
  • Their legal regulation
  • Discourses about danger (physical and moral) and pleasure
  • The global contexts and impacts of their production, carriage, refinement and marketing
  • Sweetness and slavery
  • Material cultures: furniture, ceramics, metal ware
  • Visual and literary representations
  • Sociability, conversation and their loci: the coffee house and the tea-table

Case studies are invited from all periods within the long eighteenth century, all disciplines and all national contexts, and papers that offer a global view of a global process will be welcome.

The workshop will include an opportunity to examine the material cultures of consumption in a visit to the Decorative Arts Collection of the National Museums Merseyside, led by Dr Pauline Rushton, as well as chances to explore the built heritage of a premier merchant city of the eighteenth century.

This workshop has been generously funded by the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool, the Social History Society and the Economic History Society. As a result,


For further information, or to submit a proposal, please contact Helga Müllneritsch helgamue@liv.ac.uk. Proposals (accompanied as appropriate by a bursary request in the form of a letter that includes the contact details of your supervisor) should be submitted by 1st MAY 2015.

Unique Opportunity for Proprietors!

Alyson Pollard, curator of the Lady Lever Art gallery has been involved in staging a major exhibition in Moscow; where they exhibited some of the Port Sunlight superb Wedgwood collection alongside examples of the treasures from Russian Museum and Galleries.  On Thursday 19th March at 5.15pm she is speaking to the 18th Century World’s Group in Seminar Room 4 (originally 5) of the Randall Building at the University of Liverpool. She is outlining the challenges that she and her colleagues faced in mounting the exhibition, the way the exhibition was designed and conceived, and the reaction of the Russian public to seeing objects which have never travelled out of the United Kingdom before.

Not just Books………….

In addition to over 60,000 books and thousands of pamphlets (many rare or unique) the Athenaeum Library is rich in many non-book materials: maps, prints, manuscripts, autographs, watercolours, photographs and playbills.

In this note I will draw attention to an important example, which I hope will whet the appetite for discovery in the readers of this occasional library publication.

Ordnance Survey of Liverpool, 1848/9, 5ft to the mile

This impressive example of the map-maker’s art, allied to Victorian skills in lithographic printing, shows the area of the then town centre in a number of large sheets including, in many cases, the interiors of large public buildings and churches. The excerpt below locates the Athenaeum in its original setting in Church Street.

Old Athenaeum

Reprinted from an article by

John Tiernan

Round the World in the Library

On Thursday 26th February the Athenaeum was crowded with over ninety Proprietors and their guests who had come to enjoy the annual Library Dinner, now into its fourth year this has become one of the highlights of the Athenaeum year. After dinning the party made their way to the Newsroom for a presentation by the Library staff entitled “Round the World in the Library”.  The audience were taken on a world tour, based on the Georgian Grand Tour but this time illustrated by books and artefacts from the Library collection. After visits to France and Italy the travellers moved on to Africa, the Holy Land, India   and Burma before following Captain Cook into the Pacific.  Early pictures of Japan were followed by a Pacific crossing to the United States and a return voyage to Liverpool.

This was only the first of a series of Library events to take place this year.  On May 15th the Library will be open to the public and providing guided tours on Light Night, (pre booking necessary).  On 4th & 5th June the Athenaeum and 18th Century Worlds joint study days are taking place  In the late autumn an event based on the Magna Carta 800th anniversary with Meg Ford of Christies and Alan Crosby the well known historian is taking place.  November 16 sees the opening of the joint exhibition arranged by the Athenaeum and Liverpool Medical Institution Libraries and sponsored by Investec at the Victoria Gallery and Museum of the University of Liverpool.

If you are not a Proprietor or Member of the Athenaeum you can enjoy these events by becoming a Friend of the Athenaeum Library, for details see library@theathenaeum.org.uk