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Paul McCartney's LIPA set to buy John Lennon's former college

by Amy Blacklock. Published Mon 26 Mar 2012 22:38, last updated: 27/03/12

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney, is set to complete on the purchase of John Lennon's former art college.

The Beatles star studied at the building during the 1950's, when it was the home of The Liverpool College of Art, along with his wife to be, Cynthia as well as The Beatles' original bassist, Stuart Sutcliffe.

The £3.7 million acquisition, which is due to take place on 30th March, will provide LIPA with over 5,000 square metres of additional teaching space. The impressive Grade II listed property is adjacent to the main LIPA building, in the city’s Georgian quarter.

LIPA’s Founding Principal and CEO Mark Featherstone-Witty said: "There are sound business reasons why we are buying the building next door, but there’s no denying the romance of bringing together two buildings where three Beatles once did their learning.

"I’m glad that this historic building will not become yet another boutique hotel or, yet again, be turned into flats. It’ll be used for what it was intended: learning. I’ve mentioned this to Paul, who is supportive."

LIPA is currently located in Sir Paul McCartney's former school, The Liverpool Institute for Boys, which underwent a multi-million pound renovation to turn it into a state-of-the-art performing arts higher education institution.

It opened in 1995 with the aim of providing the best teaching and learning for people who wish to pursue a lasting career in the arts and entertainment industry.

The institute currently trains 693 degree and 62 foundation certificate students as well as offering part-time performing arts classes for young people through the LIPA 4:19 youth academy.

The investment into new facilities is an important step and one which not only complements LIPA’s existing offering but also secures its future growth and development to remain at the forefront of performing arts institutions.

Lennon’s old art college building – 68 Hope Street – joins LIPA’s two existing buildings. One of these is 70 Hope Street, formerly occupied by Liverpool Community College, and is where some LIPA dance, design and technology classes are taught today.

Mark added: "No 70, although useable, hasn’t been ideal, particularly for dance, where rooms need to be as large as possible.

"No 68 has these, as well as a space we can turn into another studio theatre – a space we are sorely missing.

"We have to think about the future to make sure that we maintain our unrivalled attraction for both our current and prospective students."


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