Completed in 1896, the former Library was constructed according to an unusual triangular plan to fit within the Victorian street layout. Its features include a striking octagonal turret, a Jacobean/Arts and Crafts exterior, its former Main Reading Room with impressive glass barrel-vaulted ceiling, and lower ground floor Technical Workshops.
The building was designed by Thomas Shelmerdine, and was one of the earliest public libraries in Liverpool. It is Grade II listed on account of its architectural quality and its role in the development of Liverpool’s public library service.
The Jewel is on the top of Everton Brow – one of the highest points in the City of Liverpool – with historical references going back to the English Civil War and possibly beyond to the 13th century. Vacated by its owner, Liverpool City Council, in 1999, it was used initially by a number of community organisations, but has been empty for the past twelve years.
It suffered severe vandalism in 2009, although emergency works were carried out to limit the damage caused by theft of rainwater goods and smashing of rooflights. Further works are to be undertaken shortly, to halt ongoing deterioration and make the building safe for the Jewel on the Hill consultants’ survey work.