Opened in 1928 the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, named after its main benefactors John & Patrick Williamson, blends unobtrusively into its suburban surroundings but contains surprises. It is a bigger building than it looks and contains one of the largest collections in the North West of England as well as maintaining an ambitious exhibition programme. The strength of the collection lies mostly in local artists over a 200 year period, developed by gifts and purchases which continue to the present. These include works of national importance including a large collection of work by Birkenhead born Philip Wilson Steer and the mid-19th century 'Liverpool School' Pre-Raphaelites. At two by three and a half metres, the largest painting in the collection depicts a scene from the Battle of Waterloo by Thomas Sidney Cooper, intended in 1847 for the Houses of Parliament but never purchased.