Heritage and design consultancy PLB has completed the interpretive design and installation of a new Heritage Resource Centre at The Florence Institute - known locally as ‘The Florrie’ - in Liverpool.
The Grade II listed building first opened in 1889 and is the oldest surviving purpose-built Boys Club in the country.
Completion of the heritage centre means that Malton-based PLB has helped return a slice of history to its South Liverpool community as part of the £6.4 million regeneration of the institute in Toxteth, Liverpool.
The Victorian leisure facility was originally built for Bernard Hall, a former Mayor of Liverpool, and named in memory of his daughter Florence, who died at the age of 22.
Bringing history to life
With the provision of a new exhibition area and displays of memorabilia, the new Heritage Resource Centre will help tell The Florence Institute’s story and bring the history of the building, and local community, to life.
The restoration has been community driven and grant funded, largely supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to create inclusive facilities to serve and engage a wide range of audiences.
The facility includes a 269-seat auditorium; managed work space units to support new and fledgling enterprises; training rooms; gym for sports, leisure activities, recreation space for weddings, live music events, as well as fetes and markets. The building will also house up to 10 new start-up businesses.
The Florence Institute Trust – the team behind the regeneration project - aims for the building to become the central hub of the community as well as drawing in tourists to learn of its historical importance, through the Resource Centre.
Unique historical story
Denise Bernard (formerly Devine), The Chair at The Florence Institute Trust Ltd, said: "The Florrie has a unique historical story and the new Heritage Resource Centre feature is expecting to attract as many as 20,000 visitors in her first year.
"The interpretation work PLB has undertaken will enable us to engage with the local community as well local schools and businesses to provide educational tours surrounding this fascinating piece of South Liverpool’s heritage.”
Jamie McCall at PLB added: "The Florrie has literally risen from the ashes, having been a fire ravaged eyesore for 25 years it has now been transformed into a widely functional architectural delight.
"We are thrilled to have played a part in its revival and made its history accessible for all."
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