Lister Steps

Andrew Carnegie Library - a large red brick building

The old Andrew Carnegie Library on Lister Drive, Tue Brook was by architect Thomas Shelmerdine. It opened in 1905 serving the public as a library until its closure in 2006. Lister Steps - The Old Library and archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool are working together on archaeology projects to learn more about the library and the area upon which it was built. 

Research volunteers working with Lister Steps and the Museum of Liverpool are looking into the early life of the library as well as the lives of those who contributed to it and the community it served ahead of a community excavation in June.

About the project

Thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund Lister Steps are redeveloping their building to create a sustainable, multi-use heritage destination; a welcoming place for people to come together, participate and learn, give and receive support and cultivate enterprise. 

The project aims to:

  • Understand the old library through building recording workshops with local volunteers, allowing volunteers to learn about various archaeological techniques such as planning, stratigraphy, how to digitise plans as well as getting involved with their local community.
  • Research the lives of those using the library and the impact it had on the surrounding community.
  • Lead a community excavation within the grounds of the old library. 

people measuring graffiti on a wall

Image courtesy of Lister Steps volunteer Anthony O’Brien

Some of the graffiti recorded digitised with the volunteers using archaeological techniques. Individual layers of colored spray paint allowed us to discuss how stratigraphy is used and interpreted by archaeologists. 


person measuring graffiti on a wall

Local volunteers have been working with the Museum of Liverpool’s archaeology team, using the modern graffiti at the rear of the building to learn archaeological skills and building recording techniques.  
digital image of graffiti

A mapping workshop lead by our team explored the use of maps in archaeology and the volunteer researchers got started exploring the site and local environment. After a tour of the archives at Liverpool Central Library and of the Galkoff’s exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, which revealed how small pieces of research can come together to tell a much bigger story, the research volunteers were ready to get to work exploring their local community and the impact which the library had on it. 

people looking at an old map

Archives tour at Liverpool Central Library


The archaeology team are leading a community excavation in the grounds of the library in June 2019. Keep in touch through our Museum of Liverpool Community Archaeology facebook page to see how you can get involved or on twitter @ListerStepsHub

Curator of regional and community archaeology Vanessa Oakden 

Lister Steps Community Engagement Manager Olivia Johnson