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Liver Bird in the making – the Bromsgrove connection

10 June 2014 by Kay

Liver Bird 1910 0012This fabulous photograph of one of the Liver Birds being constructed in the Bromsgrove Guild Workshops, 1910, was recently sent to us by Charles Bateman from Bromsgrove.

The Bromsgrove Guild were awarded this important new commission by The Royal Liver Assurance Company who wanted two mythical Liver Birds to be mounted on the twin towers of its new head office at the Pier Head when it opened 19 July, 1911.

The Illustrated History of The Bromsgrove Guild reveals that the Liver Birds presented various design problems during construction, both because of their large size and the height at which they were mounted – 300 feet from the ground. They also had to withstand extremely high winds without being too heavy.

The birds were initially created in Bromsgrove, dismantled and then transported to Liverpool. The statues were then re-assembled from the collection of small pieces of copper sheeting.

After they were erected it was decided to gild them. Special scaffolding and screening had to be erected to protect the workmen at great height. One worker later said that twice as much gold-leaf blew away as was actually applied to the birds!

See a life-size reconstruction of a Liver Bird in The People’s Republic gallery and have fun completing our Liver Bird trail across the Museum.

Photograph is in the archive of Bromsgrove Museum.

  1. James Ayres says:

    The Liver birds are actually made of bronze. However, this is a great photo!

    • Kay says:

      It is a great photo isn’t it. The Liver Birds are made of hammered copper plates bolted together on an armature of rolled steel joists, according to info from the Bromsgrove Guild and ‘Public sculpture of Liverpool’ by Terry Cavanagh.

  2. Gaynor Connolly says:

    My grandfather Charles Beamish was a sign writer in Liverpool he wrote with gold leaf he also did work on statues I wonder if he was there .

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