Has a doorway into Liverpool’s past been found in Paris?
Oct 21 2008 by Laura Sharpe, Liverpool Daily Post
Wayne Colquhoun, outside his antique shop in India Buldings, with one of the pieces of glass he says is from the Philharmonic Hall
A MERSEYSIDE antiques dealer has returned from his travels with what he believes is a piece of Liverpool history.
Wayne Colquhoun, who owns an Antiques and Fine Art shop in the city, says he has uncovered original panels of glass that once sat in the Philharmonic Hall.
Mr Colquhoun discovered the 6ft pieces of etched glass in a market in Paris.
The glass bears the signature of Hector Whistler, who designed it under the supervision of eminent Philharmonic Hall architect Herbert Rowse.
Mr Colquhoun said: “It was 5.45am and I had bought a vase and a statue and then I got that shiver down the back of my neck that makes me twitch.
“Out of the back of a lorry a piece of etched glass about 6ft high was being passed down and I was there on it right away. For a moment I couldn’t talk, because there in the glare of my torch was a plate of glass, acid etched with a cubist design of a clarinet.
“Now I play clarinet, so that’s a find, but there was something a bit more to this. I recognised the design and I was thrown geog- raphically when I questioned myself.
“Is this a piece of glass from the entrance doors of the Philharmonic hall?”
With the questions of how it arrived for sale in France in the back of his mind, the stall holder then drove him back to his depot.
Mr Colquhoun said: “Twenty-minutes later I arrived and there were several stacks of glass, one with the sign that gave me the confidence to know that these were glass from the Phil.”
He then went on to barter with an American couple who wanted to buy the glass, before making the 2,000 mile trip back to Liverpool.
He now hopes a Liverpool museum might buy the glass to exhibit as a piece of Liverpool’s art deco heritage.
Mr Colquhoun added: “Herbert Rowse, who designed India buildings and the Philharmonic hall, also designed Pilkington’s head office and there is a good possibility they were originally made there.
“The original Phil burnt down in 1933 and I believe these panels were put into the new building in 1939.
“From what I can find out, the panels were removed in the 1990s refurbishment and replicated with toughened safety glass.
“ I feel like I have saved them and they may have been lost to America and for that I feel proud.”
Mr Colquhoun said he will keep the piece with the saxophone for his own collection and is considering donating a piece to National Museums Liverpool.
A spokesman for the Philharmonic said it was difficult to authenticate the glass as no members of staff who over-saw the refurbishment are still working at the hall.
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