School of Law and Social Justice Topping Out ceremony

Published on

Prof Ross Coomber, Prof Warren Barr, Prof Debra Morris, Carol Draycott and Exec Pro-VC Prof Fiona Beveridge.

Wednesday 13 March 2019 saw the Topping Out ceremony take place for the new £25m School of Law and Social Justice building at the University of Liverpool.

Invited guests braved Storm Gareth to attend the event which marked the point at which construction work for the new building – an extensive renovation of the former Cypress Building – reached its uppermost point. The School of Law and Social Justice building will provide the first home for all School of Law and Social Justice staff and students, many of whom are currently split across three buildings. The building is due to open later in 2019.

The ceremony was conducted by Executive Pro Vice Chancellor (Humanities & Social Sciences) Prof Fiona Beveridge along with Dean of the School of Law and Social Justice Debra Morris, University of Law Campus Dean (Chester & Liverpool) Carol Draycott, Head of Department (Law) Prof Warren Barr and Head of Department (Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology) Prof Ross Coomber.

A sense of belonging

Speaking at a reception following the ceremony (indoors, safely away from Storm Gareth), Fiona Beveridge said that the new building will help build a School identity and a sense of belonging. For students, it will be a welcoming place that they can call home and where they can find all their lecturers and professional services staff. It will also provide plenty of space for students to meet socially and to work. Similarly for staff and research students, it will provide collaborative areas and more formal meeting spaces. It will provide collaborative areas and more formal meeting spaces. The building will be accessible to all and will provide good quality, clean, bright working spaces and facilities - a hugely improved working environment.

100-seater events space

The new building includes a 100-seater events space where the School will hold research and teaching related events on a weekly basis. It will also house our award wining Liverpool Law Clinic as well as Interchange, the charity through which Sociology students undertake a whole raft of research projects for third sector organisations every year. Additionally it will provide accommodation for the University of Law and allow the relationship betwen University of Liverpool and University of Law colleagues to grow as we share space with them.

An expanding School

The School of Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) was formed in 2010 and has developed a national and international profile for its work. It attracts students and scolars from across the world and has grown significantly over that time. As the offer to students has expanded, the staff group of academic and professional services teams has developed into a vibrant and committed community which has a huge impact beyond the University: this School has an unrivalled profile for pro bono activity across the city and beyond.

Just add concrete

Intrigued by what goes into the mix with the final concrete block? The tradition of 'Topping Out' involves wine for fertility and wisdom, oil to preserve liberty and prosperity, corn for ripening into abundance, salt to instil purity and hospitality within the building, and a Yew branch to ward off evil spirits. The block is then filled with concrete and levelled off.

Executive Pro Vice Chancelor Fiona Beveridge sprinkled wine from the glass into the concrete block, University of Law Campus Dean Carol Draycott sprinkled oil into the block, Dean of the School Prof Debra Morris added corn, Prof Warren Barr sprinkled salt and Prof Ross Comber placed the sprig of Yew on top of the wet concrete. Fiona Beveridge and Carol Draycott then filled the block with concrete and levelled it and finally handed the trowel to Debra Morris to give the concrete a final smooth.

Below are a few photographs from the event: