Liverpool Soldiers’ Memorial School of Arts
World War 1 Memorials Project
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Liverpool is a suburb of 25,000 people located in the southwestern metro region, 30 km from the CBD.
The new School of Arts building was constructed in the early 1920s as a memorial to the local soldiers who had fought in WWI. Major General C. F. Fox CMG DSO VD and the then Mayor of Liverpool, Alderman L. J. Ashcroft, laid the foundation stones on April 4th 1924. The building was formally opened March 28th 1925. Later in 1925 the School was renamed the Liverpool Soldiers’ Memorial School of Arts.
The building itself, including a later major extension was financed largely through the fundraising efforts of the School of Arts Committee, the local Soldiers Club, and Merrymakers Club in addition to public subscription. The death of Corporal John Edmondson VC in 1941, a local hero and winner of the first Australian VC in WWI, prompted a proposal for a new hall at the rear of the premises as a memorial to this highly decorated soldier. These works were delayed, due to the WW II and post war material and labour shortages and the new hall was not finally completed until 1955.
The Liverpool Soldiers’ Memorial School of Arts operated as a highly functional, multipurpose building erected for public recreation and educational purposes. It housed the local library until the 1960s. In 1986 ownership of the site was transferred from the trustees to the Liverpool Council. In a letter dated 4 February 1985 the trustees offered to transfer the School of Arts building to Council. In that letter they stated:
this offer does not carry with it any special condition …on the understanding that the Council ensure that the School of Arts remains an asset of Council and is used in a manner which Council feels the most appropriate for the community’s benefit.
Today this fine building stands empty and is today the subject of a conservation management plan prepared by the Liverpool City Council.
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