One of Liverpool’s architectural gems is marking St George’s Day (Tuesday 23 April) by opening up an off-limits area to visitors.
Guided tours of St George’s Hall will include the opportunity to stand behind the beautiful St George stained-glass window, which measures 32ft by 17ft and takes pride of place in The Great Hall.
For one day only, visitors can access the ‘behind the scenes’ area and climb steps to the top of the Hall so they can stand within touching distance of the depiction of St George slaying a dragon.
Four tours will take place across the day – at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm – costing £5.50 per person. Advanced booking is recommended.
Please note, this tour will involve walking up steep and narrow staircases.
And there’s more to celebrate…
Plans have been unveiled to reveal the exquisite Minton Floor in the Great Hall from Thursday 1 August until Monday 26 August.
Consisting of 30,000 beautifully hand-crafted rare tiles, the immaculately preserved surface depicts the city’s coat of arms, sea nymphs, dolphins and tritons, in what was the largest Minton floor in the world when first constructed.
The mosaic was covered in the 1860s to provide a more hard-wearing surface for dancing and has only been unveiled eight times since the Hall reopened in 2007.
For more than three weeks, visitors will be able to see the mosaic from 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm) for just £3 per person.
Other tiles-tours on offer include:
Walk the Floor Tour – £12, 10-11am and 4-5pm
A guided tour of the Hall will end with participants donning protective shoe coverings and walking on the tiles.
Night on the Tiles – £14, 6-9pm, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout August
Each evening from 6-9pm guests will be able to enjoy the rare privilege of being able to walk on the World Heritage Site floor while enjoying a complimentary glass of fizz. There will also be a full guided tour of the Great Hall.
Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 23 April and tickets for both viewing the Minton tiles and the St George’s Day tour can be purchased either at www.stgeorgeshallliverpool.co.uk or in the venue.
In 2018, the tiles were uncovered for nine days and attracted more than 22,000 visitors, so early booking is recommended.
Angie Redhead, Head of City Assets: “It’s always a great honour to share The Great Hall with both our residents and visitors of the city, but especially so on St George’s Day.
“Aside from opening up this amazing space, there will be optional guided tours, providing visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the heritage of England’s patron saint.
“It’s also wonderful to announce that once again we will be uncovering our much-loved Minton Tile Floor – and due to the demand, this year it will be on view throughout the whole of August and will undoubtedly prove hugely popular once again.”
At around 30,000 individual tiles, the Minton floor is 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 up by a chain design stressing unity. At the centre is the city seal: the Liver Bird confirming Liverpool’s centrality to the British Empire.