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County Sessions House

With its grand pillars and striking façade this former courthouse is one of Liverpool’s architectural highlights.

Set amid the many impressive buildings that line William Brown Street stands the stately County Sessions House. Admire the grand portico, the Romanesque columns and the attractive arched windows of Liverpool’s former courthouse and picture the judges, solicitors and defendants making their way through the wide front door as far back as the late 19th century. 

County Sessions House was built between 1882 and 1884 and served as a local courthouse for many years. Designed by the architects Francis and George Holme in the late Victorian style, it remains one of the city’s finest buildings. Nowadays the building contains offices, but it remains a favorite with locals and visitors alike, and complements the many other fine buildings such as the Walker Art Gallery on the same street. 

Stand before the building and take in the eight tall pillars that stand in front of the main entrance. These bring to mind the classical architecture of ancient Rome. Above these a low portico features the Lancashire coat of arms. Admire the building’s elegant symmetry, with the tall arched windows set into the soft colored ashlar stone. 

If you do have the chance to enter the building you will find a richly decorated interior, with features including an Italian Renaissance staircase and some fine plasterwork. The interior is notoriously complex, with four separate sets of staircases and corridors all designed so that judges, solicitors and juries would never meet within the building. It’s best to be shown around by someone who knows the building to avoid getting lost. 

County Sessions House is located at the top of William Brown Street. It is not open to the public, though serious architectural enthusiasts intent on seeing the building can ask to be shown around. It is within walking distance of several bus stops.


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