This huge building was funded by blind poet, republican & antislavery campaigner Edward Rushton in 1791. He was blinded helping infected slaves on board a ship. The blind were taught brush making, basket weaving, piano tuning & reading Braille. The kids used to slide down the bannisters.
It has since been police HQ& Trade union centre. In 1983 funding from Pete Townsend, Elvis Costello & local lad Paul McCartney helped provide performance & recording space for the unemployed, so launching careers of Cast, The Coral, The Wombats, The La’s etc. It has been a venue for the biennial before the ruin will be converted into a hotel.