Launched on Thursday 25th November 2010; Leaf on Bold Street is set to be one of the most unique and buzzing venues to launch in Liverpool in recent years. Little did they know that in turning the former retail outlet into a tearoom, they were taking it back to its glory days in the early 1900's when it was The Yamen Cafe!
Visit Leaf on Bold Street, and you’ll discover a fantastic space that mixes art, music, club nights, hundreds of varieties of tea, and a delicious restaurant with a unique vibe and personality. With three diverse floors, it’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy yourself, and get stuck into some of the best new music around.
The Ropewalks Liverpool blog described it as "spacious, the fixtures feel worn and loved, and the soft light makes me want to curl up and go to sleep".
TotalReuse can claim a little of the credit for that. Having supplied some chairs and crockery to the original Leaf tearoom we were asked if we could make some large tables for the Bold Street venue, strong enough for people to dance on.
Using the reclaimed floorboards and Victorian tables and benches saved from Up Holland Seminary several months earlier, we were able to manufacture and supply both in time for the opening.
The Chapel at 65-67 Bold Street, was built in 1828. During the mid 1800’s,the area developed into Liverpool's exclusive shopping street, dubbed 'The Bond Street of the North' & the chapel became a place of entertainment called Queen's Hall. Over the next 40 to 50 years it went through several changes - The Panorama Hall, Queen's Operetta House & the Bijou Opera House.
In the 1890's the lower floor became retail shops whilst the upper floors became the Yamen Cafe. In 1935 the Art Deco frontage was commissioned by William Watson turning it into an exclusive Rolls Royce motor car dealership. (The initials WW were built into the design). The picture below shows the original tea room in all its glory.
Leaf began as a small tea shop run by friends in a Liverpool city centre gallery in 2007. In late 2008 Leaf Tea Shop & Bar opened on Parliament Street. It was here that Leaf and Total Reuse first met. Leaf needed a constant supply of old chairs and teapots and we had them. Before long the award winning enterprise was hosting club nights, pudding clubs, album launches, vintage markets & much more besides. A bigger space to house all of the monthly events & café was needed & the search took them to 65-67 Bold Street.
During the refurbishment of 65-67, Leaf asked us if we could make some ten foot tables that could be used to eat on during the day and dance on during the night. As it happened, we had salvaged some large Victorian trestle tables from St Josephs Seminary in Up Holland near Wigan. The Seminary was founded in 1880 by Bishop Bernard O'Reilly serving the North West of England. The college was opened in 1883, (about the same time as The Yamen Cafe opening). Boys as young as 11 years of age entered the Junior Seminary before progressing to the senior Seminary at 18. A process repeated many times over the decades.
In 1976, the former Senior Seminary rooms became home to the Upholland Northern Institute. In the 1980s St Joseph's offered boarding school education for boys considering a vocation until 1987. From then until 1991, the building housed a small group of students, still interested in a vocation to the priesthood, but schooled at St. John Rigby College in Orrell. After that the centre was used more generally as a retreat and conference centre for the Archdiocese until it closed in Nov 1999.
The property was sold to Anglo Int. who instructed architects to convert the Grade 2 listed RC Seminary in to 92 apartments, with 220 new build enabling units. The development never took place. Total Reuse received a phone call to say that the owners of the building had been instructed to remove all wooden items not fixed to the wall or floor and we saved some doors, partitions and trestle tables.
Using the Victorian floorboards removed during the refurbishment of Bold Street & the trestles saved from St Josephs, we remanufactured three ten foot tables that retained all the characteristics of timber that is over 100 years old.
Leaf on Bold Street is a unique independent tea shop and bar in the heart of Liverpool city centre. When they started, they’re quest was to bring quality loose leaf tea to the city in an intimate and bohemian space. Nestled in the heart of Bold Street, spread over 2 spacious floors with couches, cafe and acoustic stage downstairs and an upstairs that transforms between being an art gallery, live room, night club and huge event space, they’ve reached their quest.