This August, visitors to St George’s Hall are in for a treat as one of Liverpool’s hidden gems goes on rare display.
The Hall’s Minton floor, consisting of 30,000 beautifully hand-crafted tiles, will be revealed for the first time in four years from Tuesday 1 to Friday 18 August. The beautiful Victorian mosaic, has been hidden under wooden flooring since the 19th century and is regarded as one of the city’s most beautifully preserved pieces of art. This will be only be the tenth time the tiles have been unveiled in the past 16 years.
It will take traditional flooring specialists three days to remove the wooden protective cover, and then a further two days to carefully and thoroughly clean the encaustic tiles.
To celebrate the display, the City Hall’s team has programmed some special tours and events, all income generated will be reinvested in the Hall, with donations also made towards the refurbishment of the Willis Organ and the Mary Seacole Statue Fund. The programme, includes:
Minton Tiles Reveal
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 3.30pm. £5.50 per person
This 360 degree walk around the perimeter of the Minton tiled floor also gives access to an ‘Education Corner’, encouraging families, schools, and communities to spend some time soaking up the beauty and the history of the Hall and get involved in some fun activities.
The Minton Tile Experience
Tuesday to Sunday, 11am, 2pm and 4pm. £15 guided tour.
This tour offers the public the rare opportunity to walk on the tiles themselves, and take a closer look at the sea nymphs, dolphins, and tridents beautifully crafted into the Minton tile’s intricate design.
Night on the Tiles
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 5-7pm. £20 per person (including a drink on arrival).
A beautiful start to an evening in Liverpool as guests treat their eyes and ears to a sensory feast of live music and a glass of sparkling fizz whilst admiring the remarkable craftsmanship of the Minton tile design.
Music on the Mintons
Thursday 17 August, 6-8pm. £20 per person
The incredibly talented organist Lee Ward will be performing a selection of pieces that will highlight the unique tonal qualities of the encaustic Minton tiles. The powerful and ethereal sounds of the famous Henry Willis organ will resonate through the beautifully restored space and transport visitors through time.
To find out more about all these events and to buy tickets, visit https://www.stgeorgeshallliverpool.co.uk/events/the-minton-tile-experience/
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:
“We’re blessed to have a venue as stunning as St George’s Hall in the city, and it’s Great Hall is one of its finest attributes – but when those tiles are uncovered it just elevates the grandeur and it’s a real pleasure to see the room in all its glory.
“It’s been a good few years since the tiles were on display, and as a result we expect this year to be hugely popular with people keen to see this special hidden gem.
“The team at the Hall has done a brilliant job in devising an incredible programme for visitors to really make the most of this opportunity, and hopefully generate funding which will be re-invested into this Grade I listed building. But be quick – the tile reveal will only be on display for just over two weeks, so make sure you don’t miss out on what has to be the highlight visitor attraction of the summer.”
Angie Redhead, Assistant Director, City Asset Operations Assistant Director said:
“St George’s Hall is a beautiful building, both inside and out but its most stunning feature is hidden away for years at a time. I’m delighted that for 18 days in August, the protective wooding flooring that covers this hidden gem will be removed, revealing the ornate mosaic floor beneath. Visitors can amble around the perimeter of the floor at their own pace or for a real up close and personal experience, slip on some special protective shoe covers and tour the floor with one of our fabulous Guides.”
“Special events such as these help to generate much needed income so that St George’s Hall can be preserved and protected for future generations with contributions also being made to St George’s Hall Charitable Trust for the refurbishment of the Willis Organ and the Mary Seacole Statue Fund.”
At around 30,000 individual tiles, the Minton floor is among the largest of its kind in the world.
• The original cost of £3,000 (the equivalent of around £250,000 today), although the true cost of recreating it today would be in its millions.
• The sunken floors design is inspired by the ancient Roman baths of Caracalla.
• The floor includes maritime images of Neptune, dolphins, tritons, Nereids, triton centaurs and tridents, reflecting the importance of the sea to Liverpool’s 19th century prosperity.
• The theme of the design of the floor is the unity of the three kingdoms of the UK, with England represented by roses, Scotland by thistles and Ireland by shamrocks. These are linked by a chain design stressing unity. At the centre is the city seal: the Liver Bird confirming Liverpool’s centrality to the British Empire.
• The mosaic was covered in the 1860s to provide a more hard-wearing surface for dancing
• This will be the tenth time the floor has been unveiled since the Hall reopened in 2007 to celebrate the city’s 800th birthday.