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Fruit Exchange

A Grade II Listed Building in Central, Liverpool

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Latitude: 53.4066 / 53°24'23"N

Longitude: -2.9876 / 2°59'15"W

OS Eastings: 334444

OS Northings: 390425

OS Grid: SJ344904

Mapcode National: GBR 73N.RT

Mapcode Global: WH877.2MMT

Entry Name: Fruit Exchange

Listing Date: 9 April 2008

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392539

English Heritage Legacy ID: 492621

Location: Liverpool, L2

County: Liverpool

Electoral Ward/Division: Central

Built-Up Area: Liverpool

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Liverpool Our Lady and St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Listing Text

09-APR-08 Liverpool
Fruit Exchange


Also Known As: Fruit Exchange, MATHEW STREET, Liverpool

Former Fruit Exchange, built c.1888 as a railway goods depot, converted into a fruit exchange in 1923 by J B Hutchins, sandstone, hipped slate roof, Flemish Renaissance style.

PLAN: Irregular J-shaped plan. Front block containing offices. Rear block containing exchange halls and offices. Main entrance halls and stairs set to centre part of building between front and rear blocks. Former storage/warehouse areas to lower ground floor now converted into public houses.

EXTERIOR: 3 1/2 storeys to front block, 3 storey rear block, single storey connecting link, all have additional lower ground floor. Roof mostly concealed behind parapet wall to front incorporating pedimented dormer windows. Substantial chimney stacks to ridge and left end of building. Main front elevation: 13 bays. Projecting stringcourses between floor levels. More decorative detailing to bays 2 & 12. Tall ground floor with large arched doorways to bays 2 & 12 with pediments above; that to bay 12 also with carved surround. Later inserted shopfronts to right end with original 3 and 4-light windows above. Two large arched openings to centre (now glazed - former goods carriage entrances) with carved keystones, flanked by short pilaster strips, 5-light window to right of each opening. Paired 5-light windows to bays 1 & 3; doorway below to bay 1. All transoms to ground floor windows in style of plain classical columns. Central bays to first and second floor with paired windows containing 1-over-1 sashes, 3 outside bays to each end with mullion and transom windows. Large oriel windows to first floor of bays 2 & 12 with curved sides, carved segmental pediments above. Dormers set within parapet with pedimented surrounds incorporating keystones, 2-over-2 sashes. Larger dormers to bays 2 & 12 with wide arched 3-light windows and geometric glazing bars, carved surrounds incorporating garland designs, flanking dormers have carved shields within their pediments and carved surrounds. Rear elevation: Leaded light windows incorporating stained glass depictions of garlands and fruit.

INTERIOR: General poor condition to upper floors but numerous original features survive. Basement now used as beer cellar and for storage. Modernised lower ground floor (former storage areas) and part of the front of the upper ground floor has been converted into public houses and shops. Original stone main stairs has decorative metal balustrades incorporating pierced roundel detailing. There are ceramic tiled walls to public areas using grey and white tiles laid in geometric patterns; grey tiles have relief decoration including Greek key designs. The entrance hall to the main exchange hall survives at the centre of the building on the upper ground floor and links the front and rear blocks. It has partly fluted Ionic supporting columns, some remains of its decorative coffered ceiling, an aperture that formerly held a circular skylight and large double doors with mahogany surrounds leading into the main exchange hall. Some doors have glazed roundels mirroring the pierced balustrade decoration. The large irregular heptagon-shaped exchange hall to the rear block has steeply tiered seating and rises through the upper ground and first floors. It contains timber panelled walls (some sections removed), pilaster decoration, a coffered ceiling, and leaded light windows some of which contain stained glass depicting swags of fruit. Tiered timber benches with fixed backs and end arm rests curve round to face a carved timber podium at the front. There is a flat roof to the central area of the ceiling with a large domed skylight and four smaller skylights to the corners of the ceiling. A similarly styled smaller quadrant-shaped exchange hall is situated to the right of the main hall and rises through the upper ground and first floors. It contains a goods hoist in front of the podium. Former offices occupy the upper floors of the front block and the second floor of the rear block above the smaller exchange hall and surrounding the dome of the main hall on three sides. Those to the upper ground floor have narrow barrel-vaulted ceilings and are subdivided by timber and glass partitions that survive reasonably well. Elsewhere survival is less good with many original features, apart from some cast-iron and timber windows, removed from some offices and corridors.

HISTORY: No.10-16 Victoria Street was built in c.1888 as a railway goods depot for the London & North Western Railway and was converted into a fruit exchange in 1923 by James B Hutchins. The building was originally constructed to serve Exchange Station on Tithebarn Street (the first station was built in 1850 and a larger version constructed in 1886-8; this eventually closed in 1950). After its change of use in 1923 the Fruit Exchange became the main trading point for fruit produce within the city and dealt with the majority of fruit imports coming into Liverpool. Warehouses in the Mathew Street area behind were used to store the fruit sold at the exchange. In the late C20 the lower ground floor was converted into separate public houses.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Fruit Exchange is designated at grade II for the following principal reasons:

* It is a rare survival of an early C20 fruit exchange, converted from an earlier goods depot
* It has a well detailed exterior and significant surviving internal decorative elements to the former exchange halls and public areas
* Its external design incorporates imagery related to its function, such as stained glass windows depicting garlands of fruit
* Although the lower ground floor has been converted into public houses the original layout of the upper floors remain clearly readable
* Many of the original features survive including the two exchange halls, and the elaborate public areas that retain original stone stairs, decorative metal balustrading, tiled walls, and Ionic supporting columns
* The main exchange hall is an unusual irregular heptagon shape and along with the adjacent smaller hall retains its original tiered seating, panelling and decoration
* The building represents the growth and development of trade within Liverpool during the late C19 and early C20, and the emergence of Victoria Street as the regional centre of the fruit and provision trades
* It has group value with the adjacent grade II listed Produce Exchange Building

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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