Word on the street is that the Bluecoat – the well loved arts and cultural centre on School Lane – is the oldest surviving building in the City Centre.
Personally, I’m not convinced. I mean, clearly the Raz pre-dates the Norman Invasion! That would explain the smell at least… but I digress. It bears mentioning that the Bluecoat’s self declared status as ‘the creative hub of Liverpool’, has real merit to it.
The Bluecoat showcases visual art, music, dance and literature, hosts events and boasts four galleries, an upstairs bistro, an espresso bar, a courtyard garden and adjoining independent retailers – including used book and vinyl shops and even a silversmith!
Perhaps it is this cultural pedigree, which has allowed for Bluecoat to be host to the city’s premier book market. Running from 10.30am until 5pm, for two days at a time, the Book Market attracts some interesting characters: bohemians, locals, and us poor students, all alike in our mutual appreciation for a good deal. Kernaghan Books, The Bluecoat’s own in-house book shop, offers deals on Sci-Fi and Fantasy books at only £1 each, or 3 for £2.
That’s far from all though. There are other book retailers who bring their own collections and will actually buy books you no longer want. The prices of the rest of the books at the market are a bit more than £1 each, but this comes at the bonus of greater variety and the book dealers are refreshingly laissez faire – I managed to get four books for £10, despite them being worth closer to £15.
Other than sci-fi, the strongest collection the market boasted was in biography – an entire table was dedicated to books on Winston Churchill – audio books and in Merseyside history.
I had the opportunity to talk one of the organisers about the event; she told me that the Market has been going on since the late 70’s, and perhaps even before that. Apparently she and her husband had been attending the event every month for about 35 years – in which time the event has never been cancelled or interrupted (to my great surprise).
This longevity is of course, the beauty of the event – with each month’s worth of new books and C.D.’s, new great treasures are to be found: it is this kind of variety which has kept this market going for so long and is what will keep me coming back too!
For more information about the Bluecoat and the market, please visit: www.thebluecoat.org.uk/
For enquiries specifically about the Liverpool Book Market, please call 07967 902 298