THE Prince of Wales will officially re-open the Florence Institute for Boys when he visits Liverpool next Monday.
Prince Charles, who first visited the Dingle’s former 'Florrie' in 2007 when it was a burnt-out shell, will give his seal of approval to completion of a £6.4m restoration.
This conservation triumph turned around the fortunes of the 1890-built Mill Street property, nicknamed “The Florrie”, after an arson attack in 1990.
After hearing how the community wanted to restore the building with the help of a £3.9m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, Prince Charles personally requested a tour of it.
According to campaigner Tom Calderbank, the Prince was amazed to learn the building was owned by the Duchy of Lancaster – in essence it belonged to his mother, the Queen.
The Duchy gifted it back to the community, under the care of The Florence Institute Trust, founded in 2005. During his visit, the Prince will meet the people involved in its revival.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who at the time of the Prince’s first visit was Stop the Rot’s forum chairman, said: “The Prince told me he was really impressed by the community’s initiative and resolve.”
Tiffany Hunt, HLF North West chair, said: “We’re extremely proud to have supported this wonderful restoration project which brings together heritage, sport and local people. The Royal opening is a great opportunity for the Florrie team to showcase their achievements.”
The Florrie was Britain’s first purpose-built boys’ club and played a big part in the Dingle’s youth culture for nearly a century.
Built in Jacobean style, it was funded by Sir Bernard Hall, a merchant and former Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
The unusual name commemorates his daughter, Florence, who died in Paris aged 22.
During his visit to Merseyside, Prince Charles will also see the production line and training facilities at the Jaguar Land Rover plant, at Halewood.
As president of Business in the Community, the Prince will meet Knowsley primary school pupils taking part in a maths and industrial production class.
Following this, he will visit Harrison Advanced Rods, Brunswick Business Park, Liverpool, and he will travel to Haydock , St Helens, to meet staff and tour ATG Access.