Our home and base is the former Great George Street Congregational Chapel and originally derived its familiar name the Blackie (now the Black-E) as a shortened version of 'The Black Church' - a description of the Chapel in the 1960's covered with over a hundred years of inner-city smoke and grime. Although stone cleaned in the 1980's the building still retains its name.
For background information on name, and on name change, read this page.
The Chapel was designed, built, furnished and opened in 18 months after the first church on the site (built in 1811) was destroyed by fire in 1840. The plans and designs for the new church were donated by Joseph Franklin, the City Architect. The foundation stone was laid on 7 July 1840 and the new chapel opened on 21 October 1841. The chapel cost £13,992 to build and seated almost 2,000. It became popularly known as 'Liverpool's Third Cathedral'.
The Great George Street Chapel became the focus not only of worship but also of educational and artistic activities and a programme of social welfare. The last service took place in February 1967, and later that year the building was acquired by the Peter Moores Foundation and then launched in May 1968 as the home and base for the UK's first community arts project. Plans were drawn up to redevelop the interior of the building while retaining the (Grade II listed) exterior. Work commenced on this redevelopment in 1975, and has continued in Phases, as funds have become available, up to the present time.