The Florrie in the Dingle
Or as it is more formally know The Florence Institute for Boys.
The Florrie is a fine building, with a long history of serving the people of Dingle and South Liverpool. It occupies a unique place in our social history, as it is arguably the first building ever to be specifically constructed as a (boy's) youth club in Great Britain.
In 1889, Sir Bernard Hall, a wealthy merchant and former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, built the (now Grade 2-listed) Institute in honour of his daughter, who died in Paris at the untimely age of 22. It was built with the aim to "provide a place of instruction and recreation for the poor and working boys of this parish". Throughout the 20th Century, The Florrie played an important and positive part in the lives of several generations of the local community, providing a range of leisure, recreation and educational services.
The building became disused in the 1980's, and consequently fell into disrepair in the 1990's. Subsequent regeneration efforts became the victims of circumstance and mismanagement, with funders pulling out of the project, damaging community in-fighting, and a major fire in 1999 which destroyed the roof.
The outlook may however be looking better as local residents, the council and the Liverpool Echo have been campaigning for its restoration. Only time will tell.
Whilst photographing the building two elderly ladies told me about their experiences witht he Florrie during the Second World War. They lived opposite the building and whenthe air-raid sirens sounded they and their families would seek refuge in the basement of the Florrie awaitng the sounding of the all-clear.
The fading pictu...