We can trace our origins back to the closing decade of the nineteenth century, when Queen Victoria sat on the throne and radio had just been invented.

Today Hugh Baird College consists of four campuses; Balliol Road, South Sefton, Thornton College and St Winefride's. However, during its history the College has gone through many stages of development:

In 1887, a ‘Free Library and Museum’ is opened on Oriel Road, giving public lectures on science, art, history and music. In the basement of the building is a school, with 807 students studying subjects such as construction, dressmaking and iron manufacturing.

By 1900 the basement school had rapidly outgrown it’s home and a new building was needed. The ‘Bootle Technical School’ was built on the corner of Balliol and Pembroke Road, next to the Bootle Public Baths, where our Port Academy Liverpool building now stands. It cost around £27,000 (about £3 million in todays money).

In 1914, The King’s Centre, which was located opposite the current Port Academy Liverpool building, is named the Bootle Municipal School of Art, a separate organisation to The Bootle Technical School opposite.

Bootle Technical School

Bootle Technical School

The Wars

On the 7th July 1917, Rifleman Frederick Taylor, a former student of Bootle Technical School, is killed in France during World War One. He was 21 years old.

It’s the 8th October 1940. Wing Commander Tom Neil, a former student of Bootle Grammar School (part of Bootle Technical School), is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and received a bar to his DFC on 26 November 1940. Born in Bootle, he joined the RAF aged 18 in 1938.

Bootle was severely targeted by German bombers during the Blitz, due to its importance as a port. The docks were the main target but all of Bootle suffered. Out of 17,119 houses, 2043 were fully destroyed and 14,000 were damaged. 460 civilians lost their lives.

1960s onwards

Fast forward a few decades and it’s the 1960s. In 1967 plans are made to amalgamate Bootle Technical School and Bootle Municipal School of Art. Construction work starts on the Balliol building, a former maternity house on the corner of Balliol and Stanley Road.

September 1968 - Bootle Technical School and Bootle Municipal School of Art officially merge to become Bootle College of Further Education.

It’s 1972 and the Balliol building is opened. Our first hairdressing courses are delivered.

Balliol building construction, 1968

Balliol building construction, 1968

In March 1974 Bootle College of Further Education is renamed Hugh Baird College of Further Education, in recognition of a prominent local mayor and college governor, in honour of his contribution to developing education in Bootle.

It’s 1988, an Adult Learning Centre is opened in the old Bootle Municipal School of Art building.

In 1993, Hugh Baird College becomes a self managed corporation, independent of the local council. It’s now run by a Governing Corporation, Principal and Senior Management Team.

During 1997, the Pembroke Centre is opened (now the Port Academy Liverpool building), on the site of the Bootle Technical School. Departments in the building include childcare, health and social care, construction, engineering and motor vehicle engineering.

A new millennium

In 2009, an extension to the Pembroke Centre expands the facilities for construction and engineering courses.

February 2014 - the first purpose built Higher Education centre in Merseyside is opened, the L20 building, which houses our Hugh Baird University Centre.

It’s 2017 and South Sefton College in Litherland becomes part of Hugh Baird College. South Sefton College was renamed as Hugh Baird College’s South Sefton Campus and is home to the College’s dedicated Sixth Form Centre and A-level provision.