Downing Unearths Treasures at The Arch
By Hannah Duffy on June 29th, 2015
If you’re staying at The Arch This September, now couldn’t be a better time to learn more about this wonderful building and the part it’s played in Liverpool’s history. A builder working on this property has unearthed a time capsule containing items dating back hundreds of years which gives us an insight into how the building has been used in the past.
The items contained in the capsule included a parchment commemorating the laying of the foundation stone of the building, dating back to 9th December 1856. The capsule also held a copy of the Liverpool Daily Post from the same date and a broken glass vessel with stopper. These items have been donated to the Museum of Liverpool where they are to be displayed from 26 June to 27 July 2015 as part of the Festival of Archaeology.
Ann Lodge, Chief Executive at Downing, said: “The discovery of the time capsule and its subsequent display at the Museum of Liverpool epitomises the merging of the old and the new. The buildings that formed the Liverpool of bygone eras are being externally preserved to give way to modernised, fit for purpose interiors.
“Students are able to call one of the city’s many architecturally rich buildings home and the artefacts discovered give a fascinating insight into the building’s heritage.”
The building, now known as The Arch was originally a workshop, warehouse and storeroom for Abbott’s Cabinet Makers . A transcript of the document found in the capsule lists the attendees at the laying of the foundation stone, including the architect Henry Summers and William Henry Abott, owner of Abbott Cabinet Makers. A number of other Abbott family members are also named.
Pre 1980s the building was the site of the Scandinavian Hotel before sitting derelict for a number of years. ‘Stop the Rot’, a campaign spearheaded by the Liverpool Echo marked the building as an example of some of Liverpool’s finest historic architecture that it was imperative to preserve.
Janet Dugdale, Director of the Museum of Liverpool, said: “We’re displaying the time capsule at the Museum of Liverpool for the Festival of Archaeology. We are pleased that Downing has given these objects, unearthed from beneath the city’s streets, for the Museum to look after for future generations. This time capsule will give visitors a fascinating glimpse into Liverpool at an important point in the city’s development. We’re looking forward to our visitors’ response to seeing material that could have laid undiscovered forever.”
Now standing proudly as The Arch, The work on the site has been instrumental in reinvigorating the building and preserving the original 19th century façade, which dates back to the Abbott’s time.
This historic building now houses students from around the globe. The preserved exterior gives way to a modern, purpose built, stylish interior with a combination of studio and shared apartments. All rooms are en-suite with communal areas for students to socialise in with free Wi-Fi, on site laundry facilities and a games room to name just a few of the fit for purpose facilities offered. Downing Students aim to offer a balance between independent living and a secure environment.
The use of the building as student accommodation will ensure its long term future in an ideal location close to the heart of the city centre, the perfect position for Liverpool’s thriving student community.