Public Lecture: Tue 7th Sep

Public Lecture: Tue 7th Sep

Dr Barnabas Calder will give this public lecture on architecture & energy, to fuel a collective vision for restoring Everton Library.

You can book your place here

In the 1800s, Liverpool was at the heart of the great changes that brought about the modern world. Humans had always been dependent on weak muscle power and slow-growing firewood as their energy sources, and the exhilarating surge provided to everything by coal heat and mighty steam engines is nowhere clearer than in Everton, with St George’s Church built out of energy-hungry iron, and its unique Library / Technical Institute bringing information and opportunity to the industrial working classes. For thousands of years of farming economies, no one had ever attempted anything like this.

In his talk, Barnabas Calder will look at this dramatic tipping point in human history, and will confront the great challenge of our age: to stop using fossil fuels, whilst retaining the improvements to human life that they brought with them.

He will propose that Everton’s beautiful, but decaying, former library, rather than being a drain on scarce resources, should become the hub to revive Everton as the cutting-edge centre of energy progress and high employment that it was in the nineteenth century. This time, rather than filthy coal-smoke and tough, unstable jobs, the energy revolution will offer skilled, valued work converting the building stock to achieve zero carbon and avoid climate catastrophe.

After his talk, public debate will be encouraged, and plans shared to mark the 125th birthday of Everton Library in October 2021. This event is open to all interested local residents and practitioners. Those present will talk briefly and openly about the emergent plans for Everton Library and welcome local engagement. To be kept in touch with the plans if you can’t make the event, please email

Dr Barnabas Calder is head of the Architectural and Urban History Research Group at the University of Liverpool, and author of Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency (Pelican, 2021). Twitter/Instagram: @BarnabasCalder

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