Believed to be the oldest surviving purpose built boys club in the UK, The Florrie is socially and architecturally unique. It has a critical role to play in our future today as it did for the hundreds of thousands of people who used The Florrie right up until its closure in 1988.
The philanthropic history of the building is something very special. Extraordinary efforts by a great number of people have helped bring The Florrie back to life for the people of Liverpool 8, the wider city and beyond. Little did they know it was a journey that would last over 20 years…
Late 1980s Following the closure of The Florrie in 1988, the building remained intact for a number of years thanks to the efforts of The Florrie ‘old boys’ Tommy Bache and Phil Williams. The dedicated their time and money in helping keep the building secure in the hope it would be able to re-open.
Late 1990s – With little progress made on re-opening The Florrie, the first official steering group was set up with support from The Dingle SRB Team.
1999 – The formation of the steering group certainly helped move things in the right direction however this came to an abrupt halt in 1999 when a devastating fire took hold of the building.
Early 2000s Not to be deterred, efforts to save The Florrie continued through the Dingle Community Regeneration Trust which was based at Toxteth Town Hall – a fantastic example of successful heritage-led regeneration.
This experienced team picked up the mantle and worked in partnership with the Merseyside Preservation Trust, Liverpool City Council and historic building architects, Purcell, to build upon the progress already achieved by the steering group.
2001 – The Florrie was identified as a ‘Building at Risk’ and its plight was picked up by the Liverpool Echo’s Stop The Rot campaign. This was a major turning point in The Florrie’s cause and was instrumental in helping raise awareness of the project across the city and beyond.
Any questions over the feasibility of saving The Florrie, especially since the fire, were soon to be quashed by the inclusion in such as high profile campaign coupled with the undeterred support of the community.
2005 – Following in-depth consultation with the local community, The Florence Institute Trust Ltd. was formed as the accountable body to take the project forward and make The Florrie’s regeneration a reality.
2006 – The volunteer Board of Trustees were strengthened by the appointment of The Right Reverend Bishop James Jones as The Florrie’s Patron. This was a real coup for the project and certainly played a huge part in helping secure the future of The Florrie.
2006 also marked another major turning point in our story. On a visit to Liverpool to see other successful heritage projects, The Prince of Wales was introduced to The Florrie and upon hearing its history and the work already undertaken to try and save it, instantly pledged his support through The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.
2010 – After almost 22 years since closure, the regeneration building work on The Florrie finally started in 2010.
As a Grade II listed building, specialist contractors were used to ensure the integrity of the venue was retained whilst being developed into a multi-purpose space that would serve the needs of the community and city for years to come.
2012 – After 24 years, The Florrie once again opened its doors to the public on 1 April 2012.
2013 – The Prince of Wales kept to his promise and came back to The Florrie in January 2013 to officially re-open the building. The story hit headlines worldwide when he accepted a chance invitation to have a swift half in the pub opposite whilst waiting for his car. A fantastic photo opportunity and testament to the welcoming nature of the people of Liverpool.